A local veteran is laid to rest but what happens when there are no surviving family or friends to mourn him?
When the Leahy Funeral Home took responsibility for Bradford Parker’s body, they couldn’t find any family. The veteran was found dead on July 20 alone with no one at his side. But the story took a surprising and dramatic turn in less than 24 hours.
Bradford Parker from Troy city, Michigan, joined the U.S.Navy at 17 and served from 1970 to 1971. He grew up in a brownstone on Eagle Street with four siblings, had divorced with two children—a boy and a girl who now live in the Carolinas.
No one was expected to turn out at his funeral until Francis Kelley Society of St. Joseph spread the Facebook post and a plea calling for people to turn out.
“Please come out! No veteran should be buried alone without any family.”
And in fact, people from all around turned out, so did Sharron Nirsberger of Caroga Lake, Parker’s sister after learning about it.
Nirsberger said she hadn’t seen him for over a year and described her brother as a bit of a recluse who loved to play guitar. On arriving at Parker’s memorial ceremony, she was astonished, emotional, and thankful for hundreds of people who showed up for him.
“I’m so overwhelmed. I couldn’t even explain it,” she said.