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Oct 25, 2012 6:39 PM by Ryan Haarer

Missing in America Project looks to give veterans a proper burial

TUCSON- Some indigent and homeless veterans don't have family to give them a proper burial when they pass. The Missing in America Project is a nationwide mission to put our nation's heroes in their final resting place with the honor they deserve.

"The mission, the only mission, is to put ourselves out of business," said Jim Fuller, director of the Arizona chapter. "Our job is to locate, identify and inter with honor and dignity, the veterans that have been forgotten and may have been languishing on various funeral home shelves."

John Chapman has been conducting funerals for 44 years at the Adair Funeral Home. He says the mood of these funerals is unlike any other.

"You know that everybody there is there for the same reason. To pay tribute to someone who did not receive it at the time. It's a very strong emotional feeling at those services," said Chapman.

The nationwide effort has put over 1,800 veterans in their final resting place. Some veterans have been waiting to be buried since the 1950's.

"The state doesn't have the funds or the opportunity to inurn or inter these veterans. They sit on a shelf waiting for somebody hopefully to come along and claim them," said Fuller.

The Missing in America Project partners with funeral homes like Adair to make sure they are properly honored. For the veterans who seek out these remains, it's all about making things right.

"We don't like the idea that some of our guys were, in effect, were left behind in their death. But we all recognize that life happens. And our job is to help make life right in death for these veterans," said Fuller.

The Missing in America Project is always looking for help. One fun way to do that is by taking part in an upcoming golf tournament in the Phoenix area. For more information visit their website at:

www.miaparizona.org

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