No family could be located for two Coastal Bend veterans who recently passed away, but that did not stop plans for a burial with full military honors and plenty of community support.
Funerals for U.S. Army Spc4 Clifford Ray Dudley and U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dennis Ray Ashley were held Thursday morning at the Coastal Bend State Veterans Cemetery.
No next of kin or family could be located for the two veterans, but it was estimated that over 400 people were at the two burials, some driving over two hours to be there.
Charlie and Linda Jones drive all over Texas to honor veterans.
"Maybe his biological family is dead, but his other family, his family of veterans, is here today," Charlie said.
An estimated 400 strangers filed in one by one to pay their respects. Freddie Medina, the State Representative with the Veterans Land Board, accepts the plaque and flag on behalf of the families.
"It's an honor," he said.
Medina will hold the flag for 90 days, waiting for someone to come forward. He didn't have to wait long after the morning's first ceremony.
"Right after I accepted, he came forward," Medina said. "He's a nephew."
Many of those in attendance were veterans themselves, saying this time of year it is important for them to be there for one another.