NILES, Mich. — Hundreds of people attended the funeral for a Vietnam veteran from Michigan who had no known living relatives.
Sixty-seven-year-old Wayne "Sarge" Wilson of Niles died during heart surgery in May, years after he'd made funeral arrangements for himself at Brown Funeral Home and Cremation Services.
When the flags were removed from the caskets and folded with military precision, there were no family members there to receive them.
The funeral home’s director invited Niles residents to Wednesday’s services after learning that the Michigan City, Indiana, native had no known living relatives.
Several hundred area residents and veterans attended the services and burial at Silverbrook Cemetery in Niles.
Wilson, an Army veteran, received military honors, including taps and a rifle salute, during Wednesday’s services. Veterans and active military members rode motorcycles into the cemetery behind a vehicle carrying his ashes.
Niles Mayor Nick Shelton told mourners that “whether he knew it or not” Wilson was a hero.