PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

October 19, 2013

Homeless veteran to receive military funeral

Mary Meaux
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — A homeless veteran residing in the area will receive a military funeral courtesy of Grammier-Oberle Funeral Home on Monday.

Michael S. Godwin, 63, served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1966 to 1968. He was a private and a Vietnam veteran who was part of the 1st Battalion 8th Calvary 1st Air Calvary and he received the Vietnam Service and Campaign medals.

Originally from Sanford, N.C, Godwin spent his final years in Port Arthur and had no legal next-of-kin to make funeral arrangements, according to Grammier-Oberle Funeral Home.

“For us at Gramier-Oberle Funeral Home, which is a member of Dignity Memorial network, this is very important,” Michelle Kolb, funeral director, said. “He was a homeless veteran and we wanted to give him a proper funeral service.”

With more than 150,000 homeless veterans in the U.S., many whose remains are unclaimed at their desk, risk burial in paupers’ graves, according to a press release from Grammier-Oberle. Through the Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program, Godwin won’t be among those statistics.

The program works with various local agencies to ensure homeless veterans in more than 35 cities get dignified military burials when they die. Begun in 2000, the program has served more than 1,400 veterans to date.

Founded upon the belief that every veteran deserves a dignified and honorable burial, the Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program is a cooperative effort among Dignity Memorial funeral, cremation and cemetery service providers, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, local medical examiners, coroners, veterans advocates and veterans organizations, according to the Dignity Website.

E-mail: mmeaux@panews.com

Twitter: MaryMeauxPANews