Elmira/Corning Regional Airport
Unclaimed Veterans Put To Rest
Written By: Asha McKenzie
BATH (WENY) -- Patriot Guard Riders escorted the remains of service members from Western New York to their final journey to Bath National Cemetery.
Community members, veterans and members of the military came to pay tribute and give them to burial they deserve.
"On this sacred land, we remember those who have been born the burden of war and served to maintain peace. For their sacrifice to be never forgotten and witness here today."
This was the opening prayer said by Reverend Jerry Hamblin.
Unclaimed, but never forgotten. Four honorable veterans, finally laid to rest buried next to others who fought for freedom.
Perfect strangers who came to watch them be put at peace were overcome with emotion.
"Outstanding, Phenomenal, proud to be an American," said Patriot Guard Jerry Lamb with tears.
Over 100 Patriot Guard Riders ushered the remains of Fireman Francis M. Cutolo, Sergeant Robert F. Dezaiffe, 1st Lieutenant Carl J. Doerfler and S02 Joseph R. Rank into Bath National Cemetery.
Patriot Guard member, Jerry Lamb received the flag for Sgt. Dezaiffe, whose remains were unclaimed for 13 years.
"I've stood many flag lines and to be on that side and to be on this side it's undescribable," said Lamb.
At the funerals of these four men, strangers become family and community members come together to give them the honor and burials they deserve.
It's just heartbreaking, to come to a funeral and there's nobody there for family for these veterans," said Army Veteran, Gerald McDonald. "And to have someone who's been forgotten and resting in a funeral home for as long as they been, it just take it out of you."
Veterans say they came out today to make sure these fallen heroes received the dignity and respect that is due.
"It's an honor that we're able to bring them out in the light," said McDonald. "Render honors one more time before we put them away."
These men's pasts are unknown and their stories are untold but those who gathered today came to pay tribute nonetheless.