KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The director of Mynatt Funeral Home confirms they will not be charging the family of Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss for their services or transporting his remains to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
“It is our understanding that the United States Government has guidelines as to what they consider reimbursable expenses to the family surrounding an active duty death and we understand that the government will cover only the transportation cost to Knoxville,” said Director Robert S. Rutherford in a personal Facebook post.
Unofficial social media posts created confusion for some people as to how costs related to transporting Knauss for burial in Arlington National Cemetery would be handled. The U.S. Army released a statement on Sept. 14 clarifying their policy.
“Army senior leaders will ensure transportation arrangements for SSG Knauss will be made in coordination with his family. There will be no unreimbursed costs to them. The government pays for transportation to the initial location selected by the family and subsequent transportation on a reimbursable basis to national cemeteries for burial.”
“We chose not to be concerned with those reimbursements and to serve this family without regard to what could be covered. To be clear about this matter, we are not charging for our services or the transportation,” Rutherford said.
The Department of Defense’s policy states that it will cover the recovery, care and disposition of the remains. This policy also ensures that survivors of military personnel will be reimbursed for interment expenses on a uniform basis.
Rutherford said the only expenses related to its local services were for the audio support for the service at Gibbs High School football stadium, which he says was extremely discounted, and the cost for the obituary publication. People reached out to the funeral home to contribute to covering those expenses and Rutherford said those were accepted and applied to the costs.
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Rutherford also asked in lieu of donations to cover the fuel expense, to contribute to the Gibbs High School JROTC or any other military support program in memory of SSG Knauss.
Rutherford added, “We appreciate the willingness of our great community to reimburse our fuel expenses but as we told the family from day one, we will cover these expenses as a local business wishing to honor our hometown hero. We have also been notified that the Knox County Sheriff’s Department will provide an escort for our trip.”