SHERIDAN — The unclaimed remains of 23 veterans will be interred with full military honors at the Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery in Evansville Wednesday.
This statewide project is being accomplished through the Wyoming State Society United States Daughters of 1812 in coordination with the Missing in America Project and Kane Funeral Home of Sheridan.
Hundreds of veterans have been claimed and interred by the Missing in America Project and thousands more have been buried with full military honors through other programs and nonprofit organizations in the U.S.
The remains are scheduled to depart Kane Funeral Home in Sheridan with an escort of riders and law enforcement at 7 a.m. Wednesday. A ceremony at Tom Walsh Chapel in Evansville is scheduled for 11 a.m.
Wyoming state troopers, Sheridan and Johnson County sheriff’s offices and the Wyoming State Patriot Guard Riders will escort the remains.
Sheridan County Sheriff Allen Thompson said two Sheridan County deputies will escort the remains to Johnson County — an escort is not required but will bring attention to the ceremony for safety and reverence.
Events like this are becoming more common with the discovery of the remains of unclaimed veterans in the state, he said.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said an unclaimed veteran is one who “died with no identifiable next of kin and insufficient resources to pay for a casket or urn.”
Service organizations like the Daughters of 1812 and the Missing in America Project can claim the remains and move forward with the interment process.
Thompson said it is the obligation and duty of survivors and communities to bring attention and heighten respect for people who died after serving their country.
As a veteran himself, that sense of respect comes naturally, but Thompson said he hopes other citizens would make the same decision to show their respect if they were in his position.
Tammy Mansfield, president of the Wyoming State Society United States Daughters of 1812, said the group is starting this project in Sheridan but plans to expand and move forward in other counties across Wyoming.
Mansfield said she and seven other members started working with the Missing in America Project last year and took major strides toward completing it this spring.
The Daughters of 1812 are a new service organization in Wyoming. The Alexander Slidell MacKenzie Chapter chose this project in 2018 and were able to locate, claim and inter the remains of 23 veterans who didn’t have family to collect them, she said.
The group of veterans to be interred died between 2008 and 2019. The group plans to transport and inter two more veterans in the coming months, according to its website.
“All are invited to pay their respects to these American Heroes as they leave Sheridan and are welcome to attend the ceremony at the Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery,” the Daughters of 1812 said in a press release.
The veterans who will be honored and interred are:
United States Army
Terrance Birr, Ralph Morris Burger, Harold Lynn Burris, James Hubert Caraway, Brian Emery Castle, Gerald William Culver, Rickie Joe Gerald, Terry Stewart Helkenn/Pierce, Thomas Dixon Kimble, Tim Allen Massey, George Scott McNaughton, Jack Jay Perry, Ray Allen Shipley, Jack Louis Stec
United States Marine Corps
Craig Lawrence Sanders
United States Navy
John Richard Beale III, Jerry Alan Cox, Frank William Scott
United States Air Force
Scott Safford Clark, Richard Harold Hejduk, William Otis Meadow, Isaac “Ike” Marvin Plumlee, Ronald Paul Sloan