JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - At Jacksonville National Cemetery, every veteran has a story. The Missing In America Project specializes in helping those forgotten war heroes.
“We’re taking care of ones who have gone unclaimed. Cremated remains have gone unclaimed for decades believe it or not. Dating back to the Civil War days, for one reason or another (remains) have gone unclaimed,” said Kathy Church, Florida state coordinator for the MIAP.
MIAP started in 2007 and hasn't slowed down since -- until recently. The organization needs more volunteers and it needs them now.
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“She’s spending a lot of time down at Cape Canaveral, South Florida national cemeteries, so definitely, she could use a lot more help,” said Alpheus Richburg, director of Jacksonville National Cemetery.
“She” is Church, who tells Action News Jax there are only between 5-10 volunteers spread throughout the state.
“We need help with volunteers to actually help do research. We need supporters to go out and spread the word about the Missing In America Project,” she said.
They also need funeral directors to come forward and check for any old veterans remains, so they too can rest in peace.
Church said the goal is to have a team of volunteers in each area of the state's nine national cemeteries.
She pledges to her part and hopes others will join her.
“It’s my way of giving back. No one should be left unclaimed on a funeral home shelf, but definitely not a veteran or a spouse,” she said.
If you’d like to volunteer with MIAP or help in some way, email Church at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also learn more about the group on its Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/410365332347793/.