Community Events

Veterans Coalition gives military funeral to several unclaimed veterans

Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter

The men and women who serve on the field of battle depend on one another, through life and death.

Unfortunately, some of those same men and women aren’t given the same reverence back at home.

Many of them are forgotten altogether.


For 16 veterans, the Nevada Veterans Coalition made amends Nov. 17.

As part of the Missing in America Project, the Nevada Veterans Coalition conducted its fourth mission at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery by honoring 16 veterans whose remains have been in the care of two area mortuaries, yet remained unclaimed. Those veterans were given a funeral with full military honors and a final resting place in the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fernley.

“As a Navy veteran, we’re well trained that we’re brothers and sisters in arms,” Grimes said. “In the heat of battle, no one is left behind.”

The remains of the 16 veterans, and one veterans spouse, had been unclaimed in several funeral homes, before the Missing in America Project made the effort to identify them and give them the honor and respect they deserve.

“We’re finding that a lot of veterans get left in the basement in funeral homes,” Nevada State MIAP chaplain Jim Ingland said. “For these 16 veterans it’s going to be their final resting place. This is a heartfelt time for all of us.”

Grimes said 7 only percent of the population has ever donned the uniform to serve and protect the other 93 percent.

“As a nation, we should never forget what that 7 percent has done,” he said. “We promise never to forget them, in life or in death. Though we didn’t know them personally, they are part of our extended family – our family of veterans.”

Fernley Municipal Court Judge Lori Matheus, mother of U. S. Army Sgt. E4 Zach Matheus, received the flag in honor of the U.S. Army veterans, while the flag on behalf of the Navy veterans was presented to Biancha Salzbury, mother of Eithan Pacheco, who is actively serving in the U.S. Navy.

As each name was read a bell was tolled, and following the presentation of the flags, the veterans were honored with the Volley of Three.

Tom Draughon sang “Amazing Grace”, followed by the playing of “Amazing Grace” on bagpipes by Al McNeil.

The remains were then carried to the wall, where they were placed to rest.

“Today we have the privilege to thank and honor them for their service,” Draughon said.

The veterans who were honored were:

  • Bernard Roginski (1925-2016) served in the US Army/Navy 1943-1975 WWII Korea Vietnam Bronze Star
  • Edgar Strauss Jr (1924-2016) served in the US Army 1943-1945, WWII
  • Robert Evans (1927-2010) served in the US Army 1946-1948 WWII
  • Fred Berlett (1910-1983) served in the US Navy 1927-1948 WWII
  • Roosel Bates (1908-1986) served in the US Army 1942-1945 WWII
  • James Baker (1907-1986) served in the US Army 1945 WWII
  • Clinton Bogie (1920-1988) served in the US Navy 1942-1946 WWII
  • Leslie Blakeman (1923-1985) served in the US Navy 1942-1947 WWII
  • Raymond Bodine (1923-1987) served in the US Army 1942-1945 WWII
  • Donald Anderson (1926-1986) served in the US Army 1952-1954 Korea
  • Douglas Willick (1933-2005) served in the US Army 1950-1958 Korea Purple Heart
  • James Spendal (1937-2015) US Army served from 1957-1959
  • Donald Parkyn (1934-2014) served in the US Army 1955-1957
  • Kenneth Beyer (1939-2014) served in the US Navy 1957-1957
  • Raymond Depoorter (1940-2013) served in the US Army 1963-1967 Vietnam
  • Thomas Carlson (1947-2016) served in the US Army 1969-1976 Vietnam
  • And one veteran’s spouse: Gisela Maes (1943-2014)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *