‘We don’t leave a brother or sister behind’: Funeral honors 3 Army veterans without families

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WXIN) - A funeral service filled with strangers helped lay three veterans to rest at an Indianapolis church.

Richard Clay Messina, Leland Wall and Gary Haaq served the country and died without any living relatives. Messina and Wall were Vietnam veterans.

“Although there’s no biological family, there’s the 'United States' family that’s here today,” said the Pastor of the Agape Apostolic Faith Assembly Church to the room full of military members and people from the community.

“We’ve invited everyone, the whole community,” said Ursula Washington, the funeral director. “It’s very important for us to be able to just give back to these individuals.”

A room packed full of community members showed up to pay their respects. In the crowd was Veterans Outreach Specialist Bill Moylan, a veteran himself. He brought along his Vet Center truck that provides counseling to veterans who need someone to talk to.

“We don’t leave a brother or sister behind,” said Moylan. “Once you are enlisted or are in the service, everybody is family to us. So, we’re here just in case there are people here who want to talk.”

As part of the Military Honor Guard, James Roberts, a Marine veteran, believes it’s his responsibility to honor their service.

“I personally served in the United States Marine Corps, and as a veteran, there’s a sense of loyalty and comradery among military personnel,” said Roberts. “When you hear that there’s a veteran that’s been identified as unclaimed, it’s important for us to come out and support that individual.”