Unclaimed veterans laid to rest in South Carolina

Julia LeDoux
July 01, 2019 - 11:38 am
Flag

DVIDS

The remains of World War II veteran Frank Remeikis sat unclaimed at the Berkeley County, S.C. county coroner’s office for 20 years before being identified and given a proper burial in April.

Remeikis’ identification and burial at Beaufort National Cemetery came after the coroners’ office partnered with the Del Web at Cante Bay Veterans Club to identify 20 cremated remains that were at the morgue.

While the remains of around 80 unclaimed veterans have been identified in South Carolina since 2007, there are a total of 32 unclaimed veteran remains in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties alone.

“It’s a sad state of affairs that someone has to sit on the coroners’ shelf unclaimed,” Dorchester County Coroner Paul Brouthers said.

Missing In America Project South Carolina State Coordinator Larry Truax believes that there are hundreds of unidentified veterans in county coroners offices, funeral homes and other locations throughout the state.

“It’s not an easy situation,” he said. “It’s about giving them the respect and dignity they deserve.”

The nonprofit works to locate, identify and bury the unclaimed cremated remains of veterans through a network of private, state and federal organizations.

Remains of 17 unclaimed veterans buried in Texas

There are many reasons why the remains are unclaimed. The veteran may have no family, be estranged from relatives or the family may not have the funds to cover burial costs.

County coroners, funeral homes and community members often identify the remains and give them an honorable burial.

Want to get more connected to the great stories and resources Connecting Vets has to offer? Click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter.