MIAP expresses appreciation to Montana communities after 6 veter - KXLH.com | Helena, Montana

MIAP expresses appreciation to Montana communities after 6 veteran's laid to rest

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(MTN News photo) (MTN News photo)

Last week, communities in Great Falls and Helena (an those in-between) watched as six veteran's remains were transported and laid to rest at the Montana Veteran's Cemetery at Fort Harrison.

Many individuals, groups, businesses, and law enforcement professionals contributed to and showed support for both the procession and internment of these fallen heroes.

This week, Missing in America Project State Coordinator Marry Malone wrote an open letter of appreciation to all those who aided in honoring these servicemembers.

Malone wrote this to express appreciation to all those who served, volunteered, helped out, showed up, or otherwise supported the services, procession, and internment of the six veterans at the Montana Veteran's Cemetery on Friday, June 5, 2015:

On behalf of myself, MIAP Chaplain Rikki Perkins and all of the MIAP volunteers it takes to make sure the events like the one of June 5th, 2015 take place with honor and dignity, I would like to thank all of the people and organizations who came out in support of the effort to render honor to the six veterans who were laid to rest at Fort Harrison. These American Heroes are no longer missing in America.

The support and encouragement that we receive from all of you makes the process so much more meaningful. The sheer number of people who came out to either be in the procession or to stand along the roadways to pay their respects warms my heart and brings tears to my eyes.

From Law Enforcement and Emergency Services who made sure we made it from Great Falls to Fort Harrison, to the local businesses and Salvation Army who made sure that everyone had food and drink to maintain their strength. To the citizens of Great Falls and Helena, as well as, all of the members of the armed forces who came out in strength to pay their respects, I say Thank You! You honor your community, country and uniform by your actions.

To all of those who worked so hard behind the scenes to make this possible and have it come to completion in such a way that these six veterans received the honor that they have earned and they deserve, I tell you that there is no way that this could have happened without your help.

A special “thank you” needs to go out to Croxford Funeral Home and Crematory. Thank you for opening your doors and hearts to allow the MIAP team to come in and do what needed to be done. You went above and beyond the call of duty in all aspects and it has been an honor to work with you.

There are way too many to name each of you individually, but please know that you have my deepest appreciation and admiration.

All of you remind me why we do this. You remind me that it is all about the American veteran, who served their country with honor and dignity. It is not about any of us or what we can bring to the table. What was evident in this process was that so many different entities can come together with a common cause and do what is needed. You exemplify the motto: “It's the right thing to do”.

It has been an honor to serve as the Montana State Coordinator for the Missing in America Project these past 8 years, but I am just a guy. It is all of you who make these things possible. I am humbled by the outpouring of support and effort put forth by so many people each and every time you are called upon.

To all of you, I send my deepest appreciation and thank you for doing such a wonderful job.

(June 5, 2015) The Montana chapter of the Missing In American Project has been working for several months to bring six veterans to their final resting place.

On Friday, members of the community come out to honor the six veterans that had been forgotten, with their remains stored on a shelf for many years.

The Missing In America Project recently located nine cremated remains at the Croxford Funeral Home and Crematory in Great Falls.

MIAP Montana state coordinator Marty Malone says the project visits funeral homes looking for the unclaimed remains of service members.

Malone said, “This has been a passion since it started. Our motto is, 'The right thing to do,' but it's more than that. And these people served their country, we have one veteran that has service in three conflicts. And for him to sit on that shelf for 19 years, unclaimed by any family members, is beyond a travesty.”

Earlier this month they were notified that three of the families were located and those remains will be transferred to the families.

"Every one of these six that we will be burying have served this county with dignity and honor. Every one of them served in a major conflict of this country. From World War 2 up to Vietnam. There is no reason any one of these should ever sit unclaimed,” Malone said.

Family members, veterans, and community members came together on Friday for a short service for the six veterans.

All those who spoke on Friday say these six men have not been forgotten.

"Our debt to these honorees can never be repaid but our gratitude and respect must last forever. We owe it to these heroes that have died and the loved ones left behind to make sure that their sacrifices are remembered and that their service to this nation always be honored,” said David Drower, American Legion Vice Zone Commander.

After the service, doves were released after the names of all six veterans were read.

Then firefighters, police, and a motorcycle honor guard began a procession through town.

It passed by airmen from Malmstrom Air Force Base who lined the 10th Avenue South bridge as the motorcade headed out of Great Falls.

Then it was on to Interstate 15 toward Fort Harrison in Helena where the servicemen were finally laid to rest.

As many as 400 motorcycle riders along with Montana law enforcement officers rode along with the veterans as they made the trip from Great Falls to Helena.

The remains received full military honors at the cemetery, a recognition they had long gone without.

Montana State Veterans Cemetery manager Tomm Hall said, "For what they have done for our country, it seems a shame that they would just sit on the shelves of a funeral home somewhere with no final resting place for them to be and nowhere for anybody to pay their respects to them."

Here are the names of the six servicemen:

ICFN Curry, Henry W. - US Navy: 1964-1966 - Vietnam

SGT Larson, Andrew A. - US Army (Ret): 1943-1966 - WWII, Korean Conflict, Vietnam

PV1 Rice, Thomas J. - US Army: 1972 - Vietnam

CPL Robinson, Richard L. - US Army: 1950-1952 - Korean Conflict

SSGT Tedrick, Melvin H. - US Air Force (Ret): 1950-1954 & 1958-1974 - Korean Conflict and Vietnam

CPL Peet (Cox), Mary Joan - US Army: 1943-1945 -- WWII

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