10 Ohio veterans found at funeral home are buried

BARBARA RODRIGUEZ Associated Press Published:

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) -- A rifle salute and the playing of taps were among the tributes for 10 Ohio veterans whose remains were buried Tuesday with full military honors at Dayton National Cemetery, several months after they were found in a funeral home basement.

The name of each of the men was read at the ceremony, and each veteran has a military-issued grave marker.

The men were identified at a Columbus funeral home by the Ohio chapter of the Missing in America Project. The burial was one of several scheduled this year for the national group, which contacts funeral homes, coroners' offices and state hospitals in an effort to see if the unclaimed cremated remains they have in storage may belong to a veteran.

Chastity Booth, the Ohio coordinator for MIAP, spent months arranging to give the Ohio remains a final resting place. She called Tuesday's ceremony bittersweet.

"It's bitter because it's taken so long to get here," Booth said. "It's sweet because they're finally here."

Booth, a 33-year-old stay-at-home mother, discovered the remains last year at the Cook & Son-Pallay Funeral Home in Columbus, and they were positively identified in November.

Once the military records of the men were verified, Booth and a handful of volunteers tried to find next of kin by advertising in the local newspaper and searching online databases. The group knew only the names of the veterans, their service dates and whether they were given any awards.

The remains of 12 veterans were initially discovered, but the families of two veterans declined the burial. Tuesday marked the first burial for Booth, though two more are scheduled for this summer as additional veterans' remains are found.

Members of the American Legion Riders led an escort from Columbus to the Dayton cemetery about 75 miles away.

Columbus resident Reisa Kersting, 45, participated in the escort. She said she's pleased that people could come together to show their gratitude and respect.