CLASSY HIGHSCHOOLERS: Set Up Organization So Homeless Veterans Get the Burial They Deserve

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 10.12.57 AMSo awesome to see teens taking the initiative and doing something good for other people.

When it was time for three homeless veterans to be laid to rest, with no loved ones to serve as pallbearers, six Detroit high school students stepped forward, setting up a program similar to one they learned about in Cleveland.

As ABC News reports, the volunteers from the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy “rode together to the funeral, carried the casket to the grave and prayed together afterward” for each of the unclaimed veterans. They were apprehensive at first, but ultimately grateful for the experience, which gave them a chance to witness the funeral customs from the Army, Air Force, and Marines.

Funeral home director Terry Desmond said the pallbearer program “says a lot about the school and the young men who attend there.” (The university is an all-male prep school.)

“Their service to the less fortunate honors the dignity of individuals who are mostly out-of-the-view of our society,” added Desmond. He explained that normally staffers from the funeral home serve as pallbearers at services for the homeless, after the county spends 90 days attempting to locate family members.

The Associated Press reports that the students named their program after Joseph of Arimathea, “the wealthy biblical figure many Christians see as the most important pallbearer in history, having cared for Jesus Christ’s body after his crucifixion.” The Detroit program already has 50 volunteers signed up.

The program used by the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy as a model, the St. Joseph of Arimathea Pallbearer Society at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, was established in 2002, and has its own Facebook page. It has over 300 members, who have served at more than 500 funerals.

The Facebook page for the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy, which prominently features posts about the establishment of its pallbearer program, can be found here.

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