Unclaimed homeless veterans finally laid to rest


"If they're a veteran, they earned a right to be in that cemetery," Washington County Coroner Roger Morris said.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — Unclaimed homeless veterans will finally be laid to rest at the Fayetteville National Cemetery on Wednesday, December 11.

For the last four to five years, Washington County Coroner Roger Morris has been doing research and going over people at the Washington County Coroner’s Office.

What has he found? Four unclaimed homeless veterans.

I think we need to look at homeless that are deceased in a different way.

Roger Morris, Washington County Coroner

Morris said since these veterans have no one to lay them to rest, he decided to partner with the Fayetteville National Cemetery to make sure these heroes got the burial they deserve.

“They basically won’t be homeless and they’ll be with their brothers,” he said. “If we could just prove that they are a veteran why not give them the proper burial that they need?

On Wednesday (Dec. 11) a full-honors service will be held for:

  • US Navy, PO2 Walter Vanhorn
  • Persian Gulf US Navy, SA William T Wilkes
  • Vietnam US Airforce, SSGT Victor Liljo
  • Vietnam US Airforce, AMN James Fortney

A procession will arrive at the Fayetteville National Cemetery at 12:45 p.m.

The event is open to the public.

Morris encourages everyone to come out and pay their respects to these men who are gone but shouldn’t be forgotten.

“It’s just going an extra step,” he said. “Even if it’s just taking an extra 30-40 minutes out of your day.”

KNWA will be at the unclaimed veterans’ service.

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