Vietnam veteran with no immediate family honored by local veterans
LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- A Vietnam veteran was honored one last time in Lynchburg on Friday.
When Tharp Funeral Home learned he had no immediate family, they worked with extended family and fellow veterans to help pay tribute to him.
Sidney Randall Skeeter died Saturday.
"It's our duty to honor our brother in arms when they pass," said Otto Davis, a local veteran.
Skeeter was born in 1949 in Nelson County and served in the Vietnam War where he received several awards including a Purple Heart.
"That means he was a real honorable patriot, and he deserves all the honor that we can give him," said Gary Witt, a local veteran. "We need to respect him and we need to give him the honor that he deserves, I feel proud that we are able to be here just to show respect to him [Friday]."
Later in life Skeeter suffered from mental health problems, with no immediate family.
Honoring him at the end of his life became a labor of love for Tharp Funeral Home director Patrick Hubble who worked with extended family to pay for and host a small ceremony with veterans.
"I was very thankful the family let me do this," Hubble said.
"He is a brother as all servicemen are at one time or another, but particularity by being a Vietnam veteran, he is a brother," said local veteran, David Stokes. "Even though he was a complete stranger to all of us, there's a bond that when you serve you stick together for life."
It didn't matter that they never met Skeeter local veterans said it's what they have to do.
"To honor this soldier, as our brother in war, it's a great thing and it's a great honor for me to be here," said Davis.
Skeeter will be cremated and his remains will go to his extended family.
Right now, it's unclear what the family is going to do with them.
Skeeter is eligible to be placed in Arlington National Cemetery.