Hundreds attend burial of MI veteran with no family

Southwest Michigan

NILES, Mich. (WOOD/WNDU) — A community turned out Wednesday to show respect to a man who fought for our country but died alone.

Wayne Lee Wilson served in the Army during the Vietnam War.

It was Niles-based Brown Funeral Home that put the call out to the community to gather and honor Wilson’s life.

Wilson’s obituary tells the life of a man committed to his job as a truck driver, his country as a soldier and his fellow wounded veterans. It also includes the grievous detail that he died with no surviving relatives.

WNDU reports it was Wilson’s neighbors and friends that asked the funeral home to arrange the service and put the call out to the community.

Hundreds of people came to celebrate Wilson’s life.

“When you heard about this, you refused to let a warrior be buried alone,” said a fellow veteran who spoke at Wilson’s funeral.

The funeral featured several speakers, a motorcycle caravan of veterans and full military honors.

“This is exactly what a hero’s farewell should look like,” said a representative from U.S. Sen. Gary Peters’ office during the funeral.

Nick Shelton, mayor of Niles, said he hopes Wilson’s life would be a reminder to everyone.

“Appreciate your veterans, grab that cup of coffee and share stories. Shake their hands and most importantly, thank them. For without them, there would be no us. Thank God for Wayne Wilson and you all for being a part of his legacy,” Shelton said.

Wilson was 67 years old.

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