April 20, 2019 9:00 a.m.
Cremains of 28 veterans have been found and will be buried next month at the Roseburg National Cemetery.
Larry Hill, President of the Douglas County Veterans Forum said some cremains had been forgotten for over 2 decades, while 2 had been in waiting for 44 years.
Friday morning the cremains were transferred from Wilson’s Chapel of the Roses to the Douglas County Courthouse, where they will remain until burial services are held. An escort from deputies of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and officers from the City of Roseburg Police, guided the hearse carrying the cremains through Roseburg. A line of flags and a crowd of a few dozen people greeted the procession as it arrived at a side entrance to the courthouse. Jim Little, past-president of the DCVF said a prayer and bagpipes played as the cremains were taken inside by members of Charlie Company of the 186th Infantry of the Oregon National Guard.
Mary Newman-Keyes, the Douglas County Veterans Service Officer, will be the custodian of the cremains and is designated as “next of kin” for the unclaimed cremains.
Last November the DCVF delivered letters to all 4 Douglas County mortuaries seeking the desire to claim any forgotten, unclaimed veteran cremains so that arrangements could be made to provide them military honors and services at the Roseburg VA National Cemetery. 3 mortuaries reported having no cremains while Wilson’s reported they did have some. After being contacted by the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs, the mortuary agreed to release the cremains to the DCVF.
Information from the DCVF said it’s believed to be one of the largest discoveries of unclaimed, forgotten veteran remains in Oregon.
A release from the Board of Commissioners said the cremains are from soldiers, sailors, and airmen that served in World War I, World War II, the Korean conflict and the Vietnam War. Commissioner Tim Freeman said the Board wants to thank the DCVF and specifically Jim Little, Carol Hunt, and Larry Hill, “for their unwavering commitment to honor our forgotten Veterans”.
On May 14th, the first of 3 full military services will be performed for the cremains. Services will continue on May 15th and 16th with more details being released later this month.