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Strangers help lay to rest a Wisconsin hero: ‘Everybody needs someone to represent them’

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UNION GROVE -- A service was held on Tuesday, Oct. 8 for a Wisconsin Marine who served his country during the Vietnam War. We do not know his rank -- just that he died recently -- and alone, but he would not go to his resting place alone.

When our time comes, we hope someone will be there. It is a gesture that our life mattered -- and we will not be forgotten.

Funeral for veteran at Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery

Funeral for veteran at Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery

An overflow crowd filled the Union Grove chapel on Tuesday to honor Nixon Richardson, a Wisconsin hero. When he passed away, there were no relatives to notify -- no next of kin, but the Veterans Administration did reach out to his brothers -- veterans like Thomas Sberna, who came from across the state on a mission of humanity.

"It doesn't matter if he was a Marine, or Army, Navy, Coast Guard, man or woman," Sberna said. "They are a service member, and so I'm here."

Funeral for veteran at Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery

Strangers helped lay to rest this service member at the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

At least once every month, there is a final salute to a life of service -- one that will not be forgotten.

"They just have nobody -- and everybody needs someone to represent them," said Dean Butzler of the Marine Corps League. "Oh, he had a family. He had a lot of family."

Richardson is living on in his brothers in arms.

Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery

If you would like to be notified of future funerals for veterans who have no next-of-kin, simply call 262-878-5660 to get signed up.

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