The residents of Dickson, Tennessee have proven that you don’t have to know someone in life to be able to honor them in death.
Ronnie Lee Toler, a veteran who served during the 70’s and earned the National Defense Service Medal, died in August of 2015.
When Toler’s body was brought to the Dickson funeral home, there was no family members in the area to claim him. So the Dickson funeral home took to social media to see if they could find someone who knew Toler and could arrange proper burial.
But a month passed, and still no one had come forward to claim Toler’s body.
The funeral home’s posts on social media had caught a lot of attention, and the town knew they had to do something for Toler, since he didn’t seem to have anyone else.
Toler was buried with full military honors, with all expenses of his funeral being paid for by the Dickson funeral home. The funeral home made an open invitation for all to attend Toler’s funeral, resulting in largest turn out for a funeral they have ever had.
Hundreds of people lined the streets to pay honor to Toler during his funeral, even though none of them had ever known him.
“We may not have known him personally, but he had brothers and sisters here in the military that took care of him,” said one funeral attendee.
The funeral home discovered that Toler’s mother is still alive, but she could not claim his body or come to the funeral because she is in a nursing home in California. The Dickson funeral home plans to give her the folded flag that had been draped across her son’s casket.
Another funeral attendee spoke about how important it was to honor Toler, even if no one at the funeral knew who he was:
“This is what it should be for every soldier we lose, whether it’s a veteran or active duty. You don’t ever leave a soldier behind.”
Many people worry about being forgotten after death, but the residents of Dickson made sure that no one forgot about Ronnie Lee Toler.
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