Unclaimed veteran’s remains to be verified, buried

Legislation that will assist in the burial of veterans, who after serving our country lose connection with their families and pass away without a proper burial, is making its way through the Arizona Legislature.  House Bill 2332, sponsored by Rep. Ethan Orr, outlines procedures for the verification and burial of the unclaimed cremated remains of a veteran or a veteran’s eligible dependent.

One veteran organization that has helped inspire this legislation is the Missing in America Project (MIAP) Veterans’ Recovery Program. “MIAP is helping to provided peace and comfort to the families of lost soldiers,” Orr said. “This legislation will help MIAP and similar organizations give veterans and their families the honor, respect and dignity they deserve.”

Orr offered the legislation due to the fact that funeral homes are often reluctant to release information about unclaimed remains in their possession even to a veterans group because of the potential liability that could arise. The legislation will give funeral homes the ability to cooperate in the identification process of unclaimed remains in their possession, and then transfer those remains to an organization like MIAP for proper burial if the remains are a veteran.

In the last seven years, MIAP has helped locate and bury more than 2,000 veterans in cemeteries designated for U.S. veterans throughout the United States. In Arizona, MIAP has recovered 120 veteran remains and three veteran spouses.

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