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1000 Strangers Attend Vet’s Funeral After Discovering He Had No Family

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Hundreds of compassionate strangers turned up to the funeral of a Vietnam war veteran after he died without any surviving family. 


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Will Maule

Peter Turnpu was laid to rest at the Brigadier Gen. William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery in North Hanover on Friday with full military honors.

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Almost 1,000 mourners showed up to the funeral, which was organized by LeRoy P. Wooster Funeral Home and Crematory in Atco. Wooster, who put out a notice calling for members of the public to come and remember the war hero, was absolutely overwhelmed by the response.

“I thought handling his funeral was the right thing to do,” Wooster told USA Today, adding that the crowd was so large that many were not able to reach Turnpu’s graveside for the service. “It shows a great amount of support for our veterans.”

“Everyone was pleased to see the number of people who came,” the funeral director added. “They came together like one big family and the procession that began from a nearby church had more than 200 cars.”

Turnpu, an Estonian-born immigrant who arrived in the U.S. in 1955, was found dead at his home on Dec. 9 by a neighbor who would occasionally check on him. He was divorced, had no children and apparently lived in Atco for at least 40 years.

Wooster said he was determined to honor the introverted veteran for “his service to the country.”

“So I reached out via social media—and the phone rang off the hook,” he explained.

Clearly, the mass invite paid off. Hundreds of patriots, military vets and members of the public could be seen streaming into the cemetery grounds Friday.

“There were veterans from all the armed services,” said Kryn Westhoven, a state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs spokesman. “I lost count of all the cars in the procession.”

Westhoven noted that his organization was “happy to have provided a proper and dignified burial” for the veteran.

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An amazing send-off for a dedicated military man. Do continue to pray for all the brave men and women who are serving their country at home and abroad.