Work continues matching up abandoned vet grave stones to families

Thursday, August 1, 2019
News 12 at 6 O'Clock/NBC at 7

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- Back in June, a deputy found 150 grave markers abandoned at a funeral home. The Richmond County coroner's Office is still working to get the last 50 to their final resting place.

Seems like the people who sacrifice the most are somehow getting the least, even when it comes to answers -- like how is a military grave still without the proper headstone?

Officials don’t have the answer, but they're hoping to bring one solution with a program.

At South View Cemetery, you might not realize dozens of veterans are laid to rest there.

“I was fortunate enough – old enough – to be nearby my family,” said a woman named Joyce.

Among those buried at South View is Joyce’s uncle, a medic from World War II.

She only knows him from the generations of stories and the old letters left behind. But frustration lingers, knowing he didn’t his final honor.

“I think a lot of it is unknown,” Joyce said.

While some stones were extra copies or had errors on them, many of the 150 markers just never made their way to a cemetery.

"There was a chain of custody identified from the VA to the funeral home that they were delivered to, and they're delivered to based upon requests, so it's not just, 'We've sent out mass quantities,’” said Don Clark with Forces United.

Forces United and the Coroner’s Office met to right a wrong. They tracked documents that went from the VA to families to Dent's Undertaking, hoping to be able to prove what actually happened.

In the meantime, they're working to make sure even if their stones have been gone and forgotten -- they are not.

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