Veteran making urns for unclaimed remains

Posted at 6:28 PM, Dec 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-04 18:28:02-05

A Broward County veteran is taking on a very special project this year to honor the lives of veterans who have passed away.

With the help of the South Florida Woodworking Guild, Brad Ferguson is making wooden urns for dozens of veterans' remains.

The remains have been unclaimed, he says, some sitting on funeral home shelves for years.

Brad says some of the remains were eventually interred in cardboard boxes.

"I'm a disabled veteran, and there's way I'd want that to happen to me," Brad says.

The 68-year old, along with the woodworkers, have made dozens of urns.

He says it takes at least thirty-five hours to make one.

"It looks very simple, but there's a lot to it. There's a lot of materials that go into it and a lot of expense, even though we do it for nothing," he says.

Brad says he started the project after learning about the thousands of unclaimed remains that are found around the country.

He partnered with the Missing in America Project (MIAP) to make sure the veterans get a proper military burial.

On Saturday, December 5, at 11 a.m., MIAP is putting on a full military service for thirteen veterans and eight spouses at the South Florida National Cemetery.

All of the people died in south Florida.

Kathy Church is the coordinator for Florida.

She says some of the remains date back to the 1970s, sitting on a shelf for several decades.

"To hear that there's a veteran that's signed on the line to risk their life for our country -- to have gone without being honored and being interred in a national cemetery.. I just can't understand it," Kathy says.

Kathy says there are many more unclaimed remains sitting on funeral homes' shelves across our area.

"Our motto is 'You are not forgotten,'" she says.

MIAP is already planning another service for the spring at the South Florida National Cemetery.

The South Florida Woodworking Guild is in need of donations to help build the urns for future services.