Veterans return man's military grave marker to his resting place

Veterans return man's military grave marker to his Michigan grave

Posted:
Any deceased veteran who was discharged from the service honorably and buried at a private cemetery is eligible for a free, flat grave marker. Any deceased veteran who was discharged from the service honorably and buried at a private cemetery is eligible for a free, flat grave marker.
"I want to make closure and make sure this is placed on that man's grave," Retired Marine Corps Colonel Bill Turner said. "I want to make closure and make sure this is placed on that man's grave," Retired Marine Corps Colonel Bill Turner said.

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Recently, a bronze, military grave marker, was found at a home in Knoxville.

The veteran whose name is on the marker is buried in Michigan.

Retired Marine Corps Colonel Bill Turner visited a yard sale last fall, when the homeowner saw his Marine hat and showed him something.

"She said, 'Take a look at this. I don't know what to do with it'," Turner said.

It's a military grave marker. The name on it is Francis Morris, who was a corporal in World War II and died in 1998.

"I was amazed as to why someone had never placed it on that man's grave," Turner said.
   
Col. Turner did some digging and discovered that Francis Morris had lived in Greeneville, Tennessee.

"Rose Hill Funeral Home in Greeneville ordered this stone, this plaque," Turner said.

The funeral home, however, could not locate the veteran's family.

Then Bill learned Francis Morris' remains were handled by MacDonald's Funeral Home in Howell, Michigan outside of Detroit.

"When his body was shipped up there, there was a list of relatives. The funeral home tried to contact them and the mail was returned," he said.

Any deceased veteran who was discharged from the service honorably and buried at a private cemetery is eligible for a free, flat grave marker.

Garrett Hanas is commander of Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Chapter 24 in Fountain City.

"A lot of funeral homes will ask for a DD Form 214," Hanas said. DD Form 214 is the document issued by the Dept. of Defense upon discharge or retirement from the military.

Col. Turner says he wants the grave marker where it belongs.

He learned Corp. Morris is buried at Lakeview Cemetery, owned by the City of Howell, Michigan.

"Rose Hill had shipped his body up there and interned it at Lakeview Cemetery. It was all on record that they had on their files," Turner said. "They told me to set the stone and everything will be from $1,200 to $1,500."

DAV Cmdr. Hanas said his chapter will pay the bill in getting the marker to Michigan.

"If you guys can send that up here, we have a pre-cast concrete base that we put on all veterans markers, and we install all those at no charge," Lakeview Cemetery Director Devin LaRowe told Hanas on the phone.

Hanas thankfully accepted.

The results also pleased Bill Turner.

"I want to make closure and make sure this is placed on that man's grave," he said.

Requests for foot markers or medallions for veterans buried in private cemeteries go through the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, the VA.

If you need assistance in filling out any of the paperwork or information, you can call the nearest Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs field office or visit their website.

The VA's website also has information available about eligibility requirements and claim forms for eligible veterans.


If you have a consumer issue, call the 6 On Your Side Hotline at 865-633-5974 or email ddare@wate.com.

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