Community invited to attend funeral of local veteran with no known family

A Kershaw Co. veteran with no known next of kin will be laid to rest Friday with full military honors.


Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) — A Kershaw Co. veteran with no known next of kin will be laid to rest Friday with full military honors. The community is invited to attend and be his family at his burial at Fort Jackson National Cemetery.

“We want to make sure that their service in life merits their military honor funeral,” said William Lynch, Program Director of the Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program.

Ronald Baker Thomas, 73, passed away recently in Kershaw Co., and not much is known is about his past.

“Kershaw County Coroner’s Office did do an extensive investigation, and were not able to find any relatives going through their records, medical records,” said Lynch. “All we really know is that he did pass away alone. He did have no family. We just want to make sure that he doesn’t have to be sent off alone.”

Born in 1946, Thomas enlisted with the United States Army in 1966. After serving he did receive an honorable discharge. He also received a National Defense Service Medal.

“He was a SP4, which is an Army Specialist, and served in the United States Army during the Vietnam Era. Served for approximately three years overseas,” said Lynch. “We’re just wanting to make sure that his service in life is honored, and that he is sent off with some sort of family. ”

Thomas will receive full military honors, including a flag folding and presentation from the Army.

“The American Legion from Rock Hill will be there providing military honors with a seven man volley team for the rifle salute,” said Lynch.

A proper sendoff for one of our nation’s heroes.

“I think that it’s a very humbling experience for people to come out and show support for someone they’ve never met. And I think it provides a lot of comradery and community,” said Lynch.

Community members are invited to attend both the ceremony and procession on Friday, Oct. 11. The procession will begin at 10 a.m. from Caughman-Harman Funeral Home and will be led by the Lexington Co. Sheriff’s Office, Richland Co. Sheriff’s Office and the Patriot Guard Riders. The ceremony itself begins at 11 a.m. at Fort Jackson National Cemetery in Columbia.

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