After Accidentally Finding A Veteran's Ashes, He Set Off On A Search To Find His Family

"We want to make sure no veteran truly dies, but is remembered forever."

David Fullarton was helping to clean out a close friend's basement who had recently passed away when he stumbled upon the ashes of a Vietnam War veteran. As reported by CNN, that discovery launched Fullarton on a path that would lead to Baltimore National Cemetery and a widespread social media effort to honor Larry Casey, his life and his service.

"So here we are with the remains of a former soldier and lawman who we have never met. Not knowing where to go with this, and knowing Larry's veteran status, I contacted the good people at the Baltimore National Cemetery," Fullarton wrote in his May 6 Facebook post. 

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The Baltimore National Cemetery set May 15 as the date for Casey's funeral ceremony. However, there was one small problem. Fullarton didn't know any of Casey's immediate family or friends.

So with the help of Baltimore National Cemetery, Fullarton put out a social media post inviting anyone to attend the ceremony. 

"The reason I'm writing this is because Larry has no known next of Kin," Fullarton said in his Facebook post. "I may well be the only person attending his service. While I will be deeply honored to accept his burial flag, I am reaching out and extending an invitation to anyone who may be interested in saying goodbye to this American veteran and hero." 

Fullarton's post spread far and wide. Many joined his search and managed to track down his family.  Fullarton told CNN that he estimated around 300 people showed up to the funeral. 

 Michael Brophy, director for the Baltimore National Cemetery, told A Plus  that he was "humbled and awed by the support," adding that people responded from all "across the globe." 

WBAL News was able to talk with Casey's family, who booked a flight from their homes in Georgia and Texas the moment they found out about the funeral.

"I was totally dumbfounded. Didn't know what to think. I couldn't believe what was happening," his widow, Jan Casey, told WBAL News. "It's, like, you wake up and things are starting all over again. It's remarkable. I'm so excited this has happened."

Brophy said that is was a pleasure working with Fullarton to honor Casey.

"We want to make sure no veteran truly dies, but is remembered forever," Brophey said. 

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