Homeless Wichita veteran laid to rest with full military honors

Homeless Wichita veteran laid to rest with full military honors

 

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American Legion Riders participate in the funeral of homeless veteran Brian Mahoney at Resthaven Cemetery. Mahoney died March 18 and served in the Navy from 1972 to 1976.

Even though she never knew Brian Mahoney, it still was not easy for Tiffany Metcalf to accept a folded flag at his funeral Wednesday morning.

Mahoney, a homeless U.S. Navy veteran, had a brief ceremony Wednesday with full military honors at Resthaven Cemetery through the Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program.

“I feel connected to him because of everything we’ve been through,” Metcalf said. “I think I want to keep (the flag). I feel attached to it.”

Metcalf, 19, lost her brother, James Roland Burnett Jr., while he was deployed to Afghanistan. He died in 2011 when she was a sophomore in high school. Wednesday was the first time she had ever accepted a folded flag.

At homeless veterans’ funerals, Gold Star Mothers – an organization of mothers who have lost sons in military service – accept the flags, typically given to next-of-kin, to show support.

“We should be taking better care of our veterans, and it doesn’t seem like we’re doing that,” Metcalf said. “This is a way for us to do something for them.”

Mahoney served in the U.S. Navy from Jan. 31, 1972, to Jan. 12, 1976, when he was honorably discharged.

 

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