Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery holds its 100th unaccompanied veteran funeral

Posted at 6:57 AM, Mar 04, 2022

KILLEEN, Texas — Dozens of veterans and community members gathered at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery to pay respects to one of our nation's heroes.

None of the people who came to celebrate Private First Class Billy Myrick's life knew him before he passed away, but they knew his sacrifice and commitment to his country, and that was enough to bring them out.

Honor, courage, commitment, that is what PFC Myrick had in common with every person laid to rest at a veteran's cemetery.

Unlike most of them, he had no next of kin to attend his funeral — and that is why dozens of people were there to honor him.

”For me, it’s an honor to be able to be here to honor another veteran," said Thomas Grove, Vietnam veteran and Wind Therapy Freedom Rider. To welcome them back. Now it’s God’s turn to welcome them back.”

Grove is just one of many Wind Therapy Freedom Riders who attend as many unaccompanied veteran funerals as possible — and this one was no exception.

”Our organization is about police and veterans and people who are in need because that is what we do," Grove said. "Service to our country starts every day with every person."

Grove was not the only veteran making sure no man is left behind.

”It’s an honor to be part of something so special and without the community, the Texas Veterans Land Board, and the Commissioner George P. Bush, this wouldn’t have been here.” said Douglas Gault, U.S Army veteran and on-site representative for the Veterans Land Board.

Even the Texas General Land Office saw that there is something different and special about this taking place at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery.

”It really is the community that makes these things special," said Mark Heavens, deputy land commissioner for GLO. "We have four of them throughout the state, but this one, the community involvement is amazing.”

Those in attendance had a message for their fellow vets.

”Twenty-two guys die every day because they’re alone," Grove said. "Don't leave them alone. That's not what we’re about.”

The sheer number of those that came to see PFC Myrick proves that no matter when or how long you served, this community will not let you be a man left behind.