Joplin veterans laid to rest after 40 years of being unclaimed

Joplin veterans laid to rest after 40 years of being unclaimed
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Three Joplin veterans, spanning World War I and World War II, are laid to rest after nearly 40 years of being forgotten.

Sitting in the front row of this solemn ceremony is Donnie Lake, still wondering how his uncle could be among these unclaimed ashes.

“I thought everything was take care of, I didn’t know any of this was going on. My sister heard it on the news that there was gonna be a ceremony out here and she heard his name.”

That name, Glenn Robert Lake, is joined by two others: Morris Boyd and Ralph Lane, who both served in the army during World War I. They died in the 1970’s. Lake served in the marines during World War II and died in 2007, leaving behind a family taking this as a wake up call.

“I did a dishonor to Uncle Glenn by not checking up on him, you know. We need to be more aware. We need to take care of our family. We need to take care of our veterans. It’s opened my eyes. I’m really grateful for these guys doing this. It means a lot to me and my family,” said Lake.

Joplin’s American Legion Post 13 is making it their mission to make sure no soldier gets left behind.

“It’s a national problem, not so much just veterans, but all kinds of folks. We found mortuaries, one mortuary has over 1,000 remains, people sitting around. People haven’t claimed them, so we’ve been taking on the effort as a Post to find which veterans in this area have not been interred and get them taken care of,” said Patrick Tuttle, a member of Post 13.

For the Lake family, out of the ashes, a Memorial Day tradition is born.

“It’s something I’d like to try to help them carry on. I’ll be here next year, and the year after that, if God’s willing and the creek don’t rise.”

Thornhill Dillon Mortuary worked hand-in-hand with Post 13 and Mt. Hope Cemetery to bring these veterans to their final resting place.