San Antonio Homeless Veterans to Receive Military Funerals

San Antonio - March 29, 2010

With more than 150,000 homeless veterans in the U.S., many whose remains are unclaimed at their death risk burial in pauper's graves. Through the Dignity Memorial® Homeless Veterans Burial Program, two San Antonio-area veterans won't be among them.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Roy Michael McNeair (1957-2010) will receive services conducted with military honors at 10:15 a.m. Wed., Mar. 31, at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, 1520 Harry Wurzbach Rd. in San Antonio with interment following. He will be the 100th homeless veteran in San Antonio buried with military honors through the Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program.

The services for U.S. Navy veteran Cathy Karen Luster (1947-2010) will follow at 10:45 a.m., making her the 101st veteran and the first woman buried through the program in San Antonio.

McNeair, 52, and Luster, 62, are veterans with no homes, no money, and no legal next-of-kin to make their funeral arrangements. That's when Funeraria Del Angel Roy Akers stepped in to see to it that McNeair and Luster receive burials befitting veterans of our nation's armed services.

"The Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program is a cooperative effort designed to ensure that veterans who are homeless, indigent and have no family receive the honors in death that their service in life merited," said Todd Henderson, a funeral director at Roy Akers and chairman of the program in San Antonio. "We're honored to be able to give Mr. McNeair and Ms. Luster the dignified military services they deserve," he said.

McNeair and Luster will receive graveside services Wednesday morning, complete with military funeral honors including the folding and presentation of the American flag, the playing of taps and a rifle volley.

The Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program is a cooperative effort among Dignity Memorial funeral, cremation and cemetery service providers, Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, the Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office, the Bexar County Veterans Service Office, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, Catholic War Veterans, the Marine Corps League, the Robert Cole High School Junior ROTC Program, Vitas Hospice, Gold Star Mothers, the Brothers of Fallen Heroes and local veterans organizations and veterans advocates.

Through the program, Dignity Memorial funeral and cemetery providers provide preparation of the body, transportation, clothing, casket and coordination of the funeral service. Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery will provide the opening and closing of the gravesite, a grave liner, a headstone or marker and the graveside ceremony.

In recognition of the Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program's 100th burial, Dignity Memorial providers will honor McNeair, Luster and the 99 other veterans served through the program since its inception in San Antonio in 2003 at a special memorial service at 6:30 p.m. Thurs., Apr. 1 at VFW Post 9186, 650 East White in San Antonio.

The Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program is one of many efforts of the Dignity Memorial network to honor and support our nation's veterans and active military. Other initiatives and programs include the Veterans Planning Guide, the Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall, educational veterans seminars and special pricing for members of veterans service organizations.

Funeraria Del Angel Roy Akers is a proud Dignity Memorial provider in San Antonio. The Dignity Memorial network of more than 1,600 funeral, cremation and cemetery service providers is North America's most trusted resource for funeral and memorialization services. Dignity Memorial providers offer an unmatched combination of products and locations serving families with care, integrity, respect and service excellence.

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