Six teenagers stepped up over their Christmas break to serve as pallbearers at a funeral for a Navy veteran with no family.
Veteran Jerry Wayne Pino died at the age of 70 on Dec. 12th in Long Beach, Mississippi. During his time in the Navy, he served as a petty officer third class in Vietnam.
He died with no family or friends to claim his body which remained at Riemann Family Funeral Homes for several weeks.
Funeral director Cathy Warden told the Biloxi Sun Herald that a co-worker suggested that they reach out to to her son and other students at Long Beach High School to see if they would serve as pallbearers. Cathy Warden reached out to her son to see if he and some friends would take part in the cause and, within a few minutes, they were able to find a handful of teens who agreed to do it.
Six individuals; JT Tripp, Bailey Griffin, Jake Strong, Kenny McNutt, Joseph Ebberman, and James Kneiss; served as pallbearers for the ceremony on Tuesday.
“It was the right thing to do,” 17-year-old Bailey Griffin told Fox News. “He served our country. He fought for our rights. For him to be buried with nobody there was just sad. I told myself I was going to do it and I did it.”
“This morning, JT and fellow Bearcats will be pallbearers at a veteran’s funeral service,” Jt Tripps mother, Stacie, said in a Facebook post. “Proud mom when he told me that no one should be buried without people who care present, especially a veteran.”
The Navy provided the honor guards, who folded the American flag that draped over Pino’s casket. It was presented to Jim Hudson, the funeral director for the service, who then passed it along to the boys.
“Our community is teaching these boys from the heart how it should be – how to care,” Cathy Warden told Fox News.
They plan to hang the flag in their football team’s locker, as well as a plaque commemorating Pino’s service.