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High school Seniors Carry The Casket of U.S. Air Force Veteran with No Family

Every veteran, regardless of their circumstances, deserves a dignified and respectful funeral when the time comes to bid them farewell. Serving one’s country comes with a certain honor that should be upheld, even in death. In a heartwarming story, a group of compassionate high school seniors stepped in to ensure that a retired U.S. Air Force veteran received the farewell he deserved.

Ralph Lambert, a 94-year-old retired Air Force veteran, passed away in Louisiana on February 8. Tragically, he had neither friends nor family to attend his funeral. Lambert had dedicated over two decades of his life in service to his country, from 1950 to 1971. The thought of him being laid to rest without anyone present to honor his memory was disheartening.

Jordan Marks, a local high school baseball coach, learned of Lambert’s situation and decided to take action. He rallied six senior members of his team, all from Menard High School, to attend the funeral and carry Lambert’s casket.

Credit: Kelli Dial Giordano

For Coach Marks, it was about more than just paying tribute to a veteran; it was an opportunity to impart valuable life lessons to his students off the baseball field. He shared, “I try to teach them the game of baseball but also the game of life, and anytime we can serve a community member or especially somebody that served for our country, we are more than happy to do it.”

On the day of the funeral, the six seniors – Ashton Veade, Cameron Kinder, Jacob Giordano, Jackson Ford, Ashton Brodnax, and Hunter Foster – shouldered the weight of Lambert’s flag-draped casket. They provided him with the send-off he rightfully deserved at Central Louisiana Veterans Cemetery.

Although they had never known the veteran personally, it was an honor that left a lasting impression on their hearts. Jacob Giordano expressed, “It was an honor for us, seniors, to be able to go out there, especially with somebody with no family and friends.” Cameron Kinder added, “I felt sorry, and I am just glad that we got the opportunity to go out there. We all have our family and friends, but I think we fail to realize that somebody out there doesn’t have that.”

Credit: Kelli Dial Giordano

Regrettably, stories like this are not uncommon. Some veterans, due to the circumstances of their passing, end up without the military honors they rightly deserve. Veterans organizations across the United States, such as the Missing in America Project, work diligently to identify unclaimed veterans and ensure they receive the respectful farewells they earned.

No veteran should ever be laid to rest without the presence of compassionate souls. Thanks to the kindness of these six high school seniors, this veteran received the recognition and respect he deserved in his final moments. Their gesture exemplifies the profound impact of honoring the legacy of those who served their country.

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