Moving ceremony welcomes 23 orphaned veterans to final resting place (PHOTOS)

The Casper Professional Firefighters Pipes and Drums band play ‘Amazing Grace’ near the cremains of 23 veterans during a military service at the Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery in Evansville on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. – The remains of 23 people who served their country were given military honors before being interred at their final resting place on Wednesday at the Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery in Evansville.

They were given a procession from the Kane Funeral Home in Sheridan to Evansville.

(Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

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.

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“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,” Mansfield told Oil City News last week. 

Tammy Mansfield, president of the Wyoming State Society United States Daughters of 1812, accepts an American flag during the ceremony on Wednesday. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

Because of the large Veterans Administration Hospital in Sheridan, it’s not uncommon for veterans to live out there final moments there. Some don’t have immediate family to claim their remains, so they’ll end up being stored after cremation.

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

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.” The number of orphaned remains is around 400, said Mansfield.

“I think you all, every single one of us in this room appreciates their valor and their service,” said Governor Mark Gordon during the service.

Most branches of the military were represented by the 23 cremains, with each urn in a color representing that veteran’s service. Green for Army, red for Marine, white for Navy, and blue for Air Force.

The veterans listed below are now at rest at the Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery in Evansville.

US Army:

Thomas Dixon Kimble, Harold Lynn Burris, Gerald William Culver, Ralph Morris Burger, Ray Allen Shipley, George Scott McNaughton, Tim Allen Massey, Jack Jay Perry, Rickie Joe Gerald, Jack Louis Stec, Brian Emery Castle, Terrance Birr, James Hubert Caraway, Terry Stewart Helkenn / Pierce 

US Navy:

Frank Willaim Scott, John Richard Beale III, Jerry Alan Cox, 

US Air Force:

Isaac ‘Ike’ Marvin Plumlee, Richard Harold Hejduk, Scott Safford Clark, William Otis Meadow, Ronald Paul Sloan                

US Marine Corps:

Craig Lawrence Sanders