High school seniors carry the casket of Air Force veteran with no family

In Louisiana, a 94-year-old retired US Air Force veteran, Ralph Lambert, passed away on February 8 without any family or friends to attend his funeral. Moved by this, Menard High School’s baseball coach, Jordan Marks, enlisted six of his senior players to carry Lambert’s casket and honor his service spanning from 1950 to 1971.

Coach Marks expressed that this act went beyond honoring a veteran; it was about teaching valuable life lessons to his students. “I try to teach them the game of baseball but also the game of life, and anytime we can serve a community member or especially somebody that served for our country, we are more than happy to do it,” Marks shared.

The six seniors—Ashton Veade, Cameron Kinder, Jacob Giordano, Jackson Ford, Ashton Brodnax, and Hunter Foster—carried Lambert’s flag-draped casket during the funeral at Central Louisiana Veterans Cemetery. Despite not knowing Lambert personally, they felt honored to pay their respects.

Reflecting on the experience, Jacob Giordano mentioned, “It was an honor for us, seniors, to be able to go out there, especially with somebody with no family and friends.” Cameron Kinder added, “We all have our family and friends, but I think we fail to realize that somebody out there doesn’t have that.”

This poignant gesture by the high school seniors highlights the unfortunate reality that some veterans die alone. Organizations like the Missing in American Project aim to identify unclaimed vets and ensure they receive proper military funerals. In this case, the compassion of these young individuals prevented a veteran from being buried without anyone by his side, offering a dignified farewell.

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