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High school students volunteer to honor late homeless veterans with extraordinary gesture of respect

This all-boys high school allows students to serve as pallbearers for veterans who died with no one to perform the last rites.

High school students volunteer to honor late homeless veterans with extraordinary gesture of respect
Cover Image Source: Facebook | @uofdjesuit

Honoring soldiers who are the guardian angels of the country is an integral duty and privilege. They are the true heroes who risk their lives for the safety of their country and its citizens. There are many veterans who leave this earth without receiving the adequate glory that they deserve. However, the students of the University of Detroit Jesuit High School set an inspiring example by volunteering to serve as pallbearers for military veterans who were homeless or without a family when they died, reports TODAY.  

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Pixabay
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Pixabay

The University of Detroit Jesuit School has a pallbearer ministry managed by Richard Mazyck who is the school's campus ministry and service coordinator. The teen boys of this school make some time during their school days volunteering to do the last rites for veterans or others who were meant to be buried alone. Mazyck explained: "It’s really extraordinary to take note of someone who was left to die in the cold on the street. They have no family and friends that anyone is able to contact. It’s a reminder that every person, especially in the Christian religious tradition, is made in the image of God and is deserving of particular regard and respect." He believes that assisting in the burial of such people means honoring their lives and that every life has its worth and value. 



One of the school's older Facebook posts honoring the veterans on Veteran's Day (November 11) said: "Some junior and senior students at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy will provide a much-needed service for veterans without family members present at death. They’ll serve as pallbearers to ensure these men and women who served their country in military service receive the honor and dignity they deserve at death." The seed for the Pallbearer Ministry in this school was laid by six senior students who volunteered to aid in the burial of three unclaimed veterans in October 2015. Since then, the high school boys have been actively helping with the ceremonies at Great Lakes National Cemetery and other cemeteries in Detroit. "Sometimes the students find out that they are related to someone or they are at least friends with someone who is a part of the family and survives the memory of the deceased," said Mazyck. During the ceremonies, the students carry the coffins or represent "honor guards" to offer respect and support to the veterans. 

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Representative Image Source: Pexels | Pavel Danilyuk
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Pavel Danilyuk

The A.J. Desmond & Sons Funeral Home in Troy, Michigan, is actively involved in taking care of veterans who are unclaimed by family or friends even after 90 days of their death and gives them a proper burial. The Pallbearers Ministry has teamed up with this funeral home and has been serving in their ceremonies for the past 7 years. Speaking of the thoughtful act of these high school students in 2015, John Desmond, director of this funeral home, shared: "The students’ service is quite simply valuable to our firm because that is what we do - we serve our community by caring for and honoring the dead, regardless of financial circumstances."

Mazyck added, "We all have times and moments of sorrow in our lives, including the passing of loved ones and friends and colleagues. So it's really an honor and, in itself, its own consolation to be able to offer some support." The commitment of Mazyck and the students to help the country's saviors depart this world with the utmost honor, support and prayers is respectable and leads the way for other schools and communities. 

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