BRIDGEVILLE (KDKA) — The funeral procession wound its way from Fairchance in Fayette County to the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies bringing the cremated remains of four veterans and one military wife, all who, until today, had no final resting place.
It extends the promise, says Army Lt. Col. Miles Glotfelty, never to leave a brother or sister behind.
“Whether that battlefield’s in Afghanistan, Iraq or here in the United States, it’s the same to us,” he said.
Called the “Missing In America Project,” the national program wants to locate all unclaimed veterans.
“And we will get them the same honors that any other veteran would get,” Lt. Col. Glotfelty said.
Among these honored dead are: James McKenneth Fike, a U.S. Marine; Bernard Kubilus, a Vietnam War-era soldier; Ronald Mihok, U.S. Air Force; Eddie Louis Tyler, a World War II-era soldier, and finally, Norma Jean Craft, wife of Philip Craft, who served in the U.S Air Force.
Her husband was buried at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies last August.
These veterans of all eras were somehow forgotten after cremation. For some, there was no next of kin to pay for a burial.
“And mom or dad, whoever it is, sits on a shelf, sits in a cupboard. Time rolls on and a lot of people have great intentions to want to do something, but they just never do,” said funeral director John Fabry.
Fabry, who heads up the All-Volunteer Project in Pennsylvania, says word is spreading.
“The calls that I’ve had from all over the country have been unbelievable,” he said.
The “Missing In America Project” still has much work to do. Country-wide more than 16,000 cremated remains of veterans have been found; more than 2,000 have been identified.
In the next six weeks nearly 30 veterans from Butler County will also find their rest.