Marianna- Every person deserves a proper, respectful burial when they pass on- but particularly those who have served our country. Sadly, not all veterans get laid to rest with the dignity of a military burial. But one Florida organization is working to change that.
"Urns for Vets" is a group of south Florida wood-workers who recently started making handcrafted urns for veterans. In many cases, the urns go to vets who may not be able to afford a proper burial.
Friday, News Channel 7 attended what appeared to be a standard military funeral service. The deceased was Joseph Mack Wilson (86). He was a Marianna native, who moved to Vero Beach in 1992, where he died last month. Wilson was also a US Army veteran.
'He loved his family but he loved his country too" Chalmers Wilson III said of his late uncle. "So to have the opportunity to do something special for him and honor his military service- that means this was a job well done. And I'm satisfied with that."
But what set the service apart from others was Joseph Wilson's urn. It was handcrafted by the "Urns for Vets" group out of St. Petersburg, Florida. For several months they've been building urns for veterans with limited resources to give them a dignified burial.
Wilson told us each of the handmade urns displayed a high quality of craftsmanship and had to meet certain regulations to inter human ashes.
"It was a unique opportunity to not only be involved with something that's coming to our area for the first time, but also an opportunity for us to offer a service to a family that was in need" said co-owner of Peoples Funeral Home, Cephus Granberry.
It may have been the first for the area, but it likely wasn't the last. Wilson said he wanted to start an "Urns for Vets'' chapter in Marianna.
"This area has a lot of military and military vets. It's an opportunity for me to do something for the vets. I volunteered to help coordinate something" Wilson told us.
Granberry added, "We can serve as a vehicle to help get this opportunity in our area for veterans. We have a lot of veterans here who are not as fortunate as others and could really benefit from this program."