A recent article about unclaimed veterans’ cremation remains caught our attention. It was heartening, especially as Veterans Day approaches, to read about a high school shop class creating wooden urns for some of New Mexico’s homeless veterans who passed. The finished products show care and respect –appropriate for these patriots who, for whatever circumstances, did not have loved ones around to claim their remains.
The homeless veteran situation in America is a sad and unfortunate one. We do our little part here at Phaneuf by assisting with veterans funeral benefits and providing a dignified farewell to those who served. Sometimes they have loved ones planning their service, sometimes they planned it themselves, and others didn’t have the luxury of planning as their last days were spent struggling to survive on the streets.
Earlier this month, we once again partnered with Mount Calvalry Chapel and Cemetery for a final resting place for unclaimed cremated remains. Traditionally, this happens around All Soul’s Day. We once again included unclaimed remains from some of our veterans in this remembrance.
Of course it’s important to honor and remember those who served on Veterans Day, but we strive to be respectful and helpful where we can year round. Life and death equally deserve dignity and respect. Here are some opportunities for you to get involved:
Reach Out to the Phaneuf Family Foundation
We’ve assisted monetarily for funerals and cremations for homeless veterans for many years. This is one of the reasons we formed the Phaneuf Family Foundation. Donations are available for deceased residents of New Hampshire and Vermont, and cover costs including a complete cremation. Requests for distributions for a cremation can come from any interested party. Homeless deceased are also likely eligible for a county, city or town welfare benefit toward a cremation.
Veterans Benefits Available
The Veterans Association offers a variety of benefits for those that have passed (though not money toward a funeral or cremation). For example, the NH State Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen provides free burial space for veterans. We’ve collected (and keep updated) the list of benefits for your convenience.
Retire Flags Respectfully
Though there are specific days designated to fly Old Glory, some patriotic Americans choose to keep the flag up all year. This adds wear and tear to the fabric. We offer complimentary, respectful flag retiring via cremation. Just drop off a flag in the “flag mailbox” in front of our 243 Hanover St. location in Manchester.
Remember, our veterans are out there 365 days a year. One small way we offer our respect is ensuring they have a dignified goodbye.