Patriot Guard honors veteran whose family can't be found

Posted by cjrowell on April 13, 2018

© 2018 WFAA 

Author: Kevin Reece
WFAA Dallas

Patriot Guard honors veteran whose family can't be found

On Wednesday morning at DFW National Cemetery, the Patriot Guard carried another casket to a final ceremony, a final resting place. But, other than two members of the Veterans Administration and employees of a Dallas-area funeral home, they were the only "family" there.

Indigent veterans for whom family members cannot be found, are buried in the thousands each year in the United States. About 40 are interred at DFW National Cemetery each year. On Wednesday members of the North Texas Patriot Guard Riders stood in as the family of George Martin Schaeffer, 58, of Denton.

Records show he had a few rough patches in his life, jail time served for minor offenses. It's the three years he served in the Navy that led the Patriot Guard to stand by his side.

"No veteran should ever be laid to rest alone," said Patriot Guard Ride Captain Mark Littel. "We do know that he served. We do know that he raised his right hand, and said I want to serve my country. So for that reason alone, he deserves all the recognition and all the honor that we can give him."

This same month last year 20 indigent veterans were buried in a single ceremony at DFW National Cemetery. Thirteen of them were buried without the Veterans Administration able to find any next of kin. One of them was Bobby Gleason, 71, who died alone in a Dallas-area hotel. His sister in Oakwood, Texas, who hadn't been able to find him in more than 20 years, saw his name on WFAA. It solved a mystery for the family he'd left behind.

"That means the world to me," Margie Johnson said of the honor bestowed on her brother and the other veterans that April day last year. "Because he was actually being honored today. It's sad for me, but it's a blessing also that they thought that much."

And for George Martin Schaeffer, that's what they're hoping for now. Someone must be looking for him. Someone must want to know what happened. Someone must want the honor of receiving the American flag from his casket that this morning was handed to a representative of the VA instead.

"However, we are the family. And I have solace in that. That he didn't go alone. He did get this proper sendoff that he deserved," said Patriot Guard member Sylvia Miller.

And they will be ready to stand for the next veteran too - not letting any of them simply fade away.

"These are the heroes of our nation," said Littel, "and we can't forget them."

The North Texas Patriot Guard Riders attended services for 763 veterans last year alone. If you would like more information, or would consider being a volunteer, click here to go to their website.

North Texas welcomes new Assistant Deputy State Captain

Posted by cjrowell on April 13, 2018


We are pleased to announce that Brian Liberty, a long time Rider and Ride Captain for North Texas, is stepping up as an Assistant Deputy State Captain for us all.  He comes with a tremendous amount of experience and talent and is fully dedicated to our mission.    



Mark Littel

Deputy State Captain

North Texas

Rep. Zeldin Honors Patriot Guard Riders on House Floor

Posted by cjrowell on April 12, 2018

On April 12, 2018, Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) honored the Patriot Guard Riders from Long Island and across the United States on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Stepping Down

Posted by cjrowell on January 14, 2018

Fellow Riders,
Effective today, 15 May 2018, I am stepping down as the Deputy State Captain for North Texas.   Thanks to each of you for your tireless efforts to stand and honor our heroes on their finally journey.    I look forward to seeing you on the Flag Line as I will continue to serve in any capacity that I can with our grand group of men and women.
Mark Littel
Deputy State Captain
North Texas Patriot Guard
C:  682-251-1300

North Texas Patriot Guard Riders

The Patriot Guard Riders is a 100% volunteer, federally registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which ensures dignity and respect at memorial services honoring fallen active duty military, first responders and honorably discharged veterans.

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