Homeless Vet Dies on the Street with No Family to Lay Him to Rest – That’s When High Schoolers Step In

When a homeless Army veteran died recently on the streets of Boston, students from a local high school stepped in to ensure that the man received a proper sendoff.

Upon learning that no family members or friends would be attending Army veteran John T. Fitzmaurice’s funeral, students from Catholic Memorial High School partnered with a local ministry and a funeral home to make plans to give him a final farewell.

“We have a lot of veterans in my own family so I know the sacrifice he made for the country and I know the service he committed in the years he committed to serving our country,” said Will Padden, president of the senior class at Catholic Memorial.

“John in this case needed a family and we were there to be John’s family,” said Padden.

Prior to Fitzmaurice’s burial, a full mass was held for him in the chapel at the high school, WBZ-TV reported.

The Rev. Chris Palladino volunteered to officiate the service and he gave a eulogy for Fitzmaurice.

Many Catholic Memorial students attended the mass and participated in the funeral.

At the conclusion of the service, a group of seniors carried Fitzmaurice’s flag-draped coffin to the waiting hearse.

A soldier played taps for Fitzmaurice and he was buried with full military honors, according to Fox News.

The experience served as a lesson for the students at Catholic Memorial.

“For us paying homage to a veteran, to bring him to our campus, to provide the burial rights he deserves, and to honor his legacy and to help our boys realize we have to stand with those who are marginalized,” said the school’s president, Peter Folan.

In a comment on Facebook, one user wrote, “powerful and beautiful – thank you to the Catholic school who just SHINES what beautiful souls who make a difference – RIP now to this soldier, he must be smiling down on all those wonderful students!”

According to Breitbart News, students at other American schools have volunteered to give proper sendoffs to military veterans without loved ones.

In 2015, students at the University of Detroit Jesuit School began an ongoing pallbearer ministry program where high school students serve as pallbearers for “unclaimed” veterans and non-veterans, NBC’s Today reported.

“The students’ service is so important because they realize how they can give back to the people of our community who have given so much to us,” said faculty member Todd Wilson. “They believe that, through being a pallbearer at the funerals of veterans, the homeless, the socially poor and others, they are … offering a final tribute to a person’s life journey.”

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