MILLEDGEVILLE, GA (WFXG) - People filled the sanctuary of Elliott Sons Funeral Home on Lumpkin Rd. to say goodbye to a military veteran who had no home or family. They honored Army Private Charles T. Womble with a ceremony filled with prayer, the playing of TAPS and a call to put an end to veteran homelessness.
“It’s important to come out and stand as a family for a veteran that doesn’t have a family,” said Patriot Guard Ride Captain Brendan McNair.
McNair is one of several Patriot Guard members who escorted the 62-year-old former communications center specialist to his final resting place: Georgia Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Milledgeville, Ga.
He is the 12th homeless veteran buried by the local Homeless Veterans Burial Program in 2019. The Patriot Guard prefers to call homeless veterans “unaccompanied”.
“This man signed up. He wanted to serve the military. When he got out, unfortunately, not much is known to why he was unaccompanied, but they came out to support anyway,” McNair said.
Spokespersons from several local organizations, like Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program, the Patriot Guard and Forces United said they are working to end homelessness among veterans. Sometimes it is difficult because some veterans are resistant to help, said Forces United Director of Homeless Services Kelly Thorpe.
“We help connect them to housing, first of all. Get them off the streets or out of their situation, through VA programs, voucher programs, VA grants we’re a subcontractor for,” Thorpe explained.
Once veterans are housed, the organization connects them to medical care and other resources. Thorpe told FOX 54 Forces United helps at least 70 people with its housing program. They never want to see veterans go through tough situations alone.
Forces United said Monday’s funeral also highlights why our area needs a state veterans cemetery. A local delegation is working to make that happen, too.