World War Two Veteran to Be Laid to Rest 15 Years After Death
"I'm sorry he ended up like this. He should have been taken care of a long time ago," says Bob Protzman.
He is with the Missing in America Project, a group working to give a World War Two veteran a proper burial.
He was contacted on Memorial Day.
American Legion Post 509 was approached by a person who had an urn, that held the remains of a World War Two veteran.
The veteran had died in 1999.
But the remains were found in a storage space.
"Everybody tells you when you join the military, you won't have to worry about this, but here you have guys resting on shelves," says Protzman.
The group helps to locate, identify and bury the unclaimed remains of service members.
The man in the urn served four years in World War Two, earning honors for his work with a squadron of planes.
"It really pulls at your heartstrings. Any veteran that serves in combat knows we never leave a soldier behind. And now that its peace time, we will never leave a veteran behind," says Bob McLaughlin, with American Legion Post 509.
The group was able to track down members of the serviceman, here in the central valley.
But, no one has claimed the remains.
"To have this happen at home, it's another wound for us," says Protzman.
If no one answers for the veteran over the next month, the group will.
"We will have a memorial service second to none. The American legion riders will escort this gentleman's ashes to Santa Nella, and he will be placed at the proper national cemetery," says McLaughlin. "We are all volunteers, this is our paycheck."
This so far the second person that the Missing In America Project has helped.
It relies on donations to pay for travel to track down information on veterans so they can get the tribute to they deserve.
If you'd like to donate, you can call 559-580-5592.