MILITARY MATTERS: Georgia Community Shows up for Funerals of Veterans Without Family

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 7:06 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WTVM) - It was a sendoff among strangers for two veterans in Georgia who recently passed away. One served in the Navy. The other served 20 years in the armed forces, including in Vietnam. An Augusta community rallied to remember them.

Funeral organizers for William Barnes and Thomas Ivey couldn’t find friends or family for either, but these heroes still had support.

“We’re all brothers and sisters in arms, we’ve got to make sure we all still take care of each other, even after we come out of the military,” Army veteran Arnold Gonzales said.

Gonzales – the VFW 4th district commander – heard recently that these veterans would be alone. He didn’t want that to happen.

I started making phone calls and getting a hold of people to come out and support this event to make sure he gets a good sendoff,” Gonzales added.

Dozens of people showed up to give them a proper sendoff, including retired and active duty military.

Members of the patriot guard riders of Georgia escorted them for an hour and a half ride from Augusta to the cemetery in Milledgeville.

“He fought for this country, he bled for this country, and we should at least show respect in seeing him off to heaven,” Gonzales said.

They didn’t have blood relatives there -- but they did have family.

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