Orphaned remains of 23 veterans to be interred at Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery

Members of the Casper branch of the Patriot Guard Riders line the sidewalk before a service honoring Flag Day at the Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery on Wednesday, June 14, 2017 in Evansville. Flag Day marks the adoption of the flag of the United States. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City File)

CASPER, Wyo. – The cremated remains of 23 people who served in the military for their country will receive one final honor next week.

A full military burial with honors will take place at the Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery in Evansville starting at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, September 18.

That morning the remains will start their final journey at the Kane Funeral Home in Sheridan at 7 a.m. The procession will involve the Sheridan County and Natrona County Sheriffs, Wyoming Highway Patrol state troopers, and the Patriot Guard Riders.

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The Wyoming Military Department will provide full military honors and a chaplain.

The burial is the result of efforts from the new Wyoming State Society United States Daughters of 1812, according its president Tammy Mansfield. The group is one of two chapters of the National Society United States Daughters of 1812.

“I chose for my state project to help get these veterans orphaned cremains to where they’re supposed to be, which is buried in a state or national cemetery,” said Mansfield.

Mansfield and her volunteers found difficulty making the arrangements on their own, so they reached out to the Missing in America Project to help facilitate arrangements.

With their help, the group was able to fast track the required verification of each individual veteran’s service.

“So then it started going really quickly.”

The cremains are all from Sheridan County and date from 2008 to the beginning of this year, according to Mansfield. Most of the veterans were elderly served during the Vietnam War era.

“Quite a few of them died here at the Veterans Administration hospital here in Sheridan,” said Mansfield. “We have a lot of veterans because the hospital is here.”

When there is no family to claim the remains of a veteran who died, the county often helps with fees, said Mansfield. In other cases, Kane Funeral Home has absorbed the cost. In all cases, the funeral home held onto the cremains until now, when they can be properly honored.

Mansfield says the group hopes to focus next on honoring unclaimed veterans remains in Natrona County and possibly Laramie County.

“There are orphaned cremains all across the state,” said Mansfield, “so hopefully we’ll be able to get to all of them.”

Mansfield says the public is encouraged to attend the ceremony.