2014-03-27 / Community

Final salute

Homeless veteran is laid to rest


Photos by MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers Photos by MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks cemetery in Westlake Village hosted a public funeral service last week for United States military veteran Richard Clarke, who recently died homeless at the age of 79.

About 100 people attended the March 20 service in the Garden of Valor at the memorial park.

The service was provided by the Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program, which is dedicated to honoring homeless and indigent veterans with a military funeral.

“Today there are more than 150,000 homeless veterans in the U.S.” said Chester Perry, operations manager of Pierce Brothers. “We’re honored to give this veteran the dignified military service he deserves.”

The ceremony included a message by the Rev. Craig Beeker, pastor of New Hope Lutheran Church in Agoura Hills, and opening and closing prayers by the Rev. Bruce Kitabjian, pastor of Grace Bible Baptist Church in Newbury Park.


HONOR DUE—At left, Army Lt. Kyle Woodhouse leads theflagdraped casket of Richard Clarke to a graveside service at Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Memorial Park in Westlake Village on March 20. Clarke, 79, who was homeless, served in the Army from 1956 to 1959. Above, Barry Hammond of Thousand Oaks pays his respects as Clarke’s casket passes by. HONOR DUE—At left, Army Lt. Kyle Woodhouse leads theflagdraped casket of Richard Clarke to a graveside service at Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Memorial Park in Westlake Village on March 20. Clarke, 79, who was homeless, served in the Army from 1956 to 1959. Above, Barry Hammond of Thousand Oaks pays his respects as Clarke’s casket passes by. Also participating in the ceremony were VFW Post 10049 from Simi Valley, VFW District 7 and Army Recruiting Command.

The ceremony included the placing of a wreath, the Patriot Guard and a bagpiper playing “Amazing Grace.”

A private burial took place at Riverside National Cemetery.



TRADITION—Army Spc. Steven An, left, and Lt. Kyle Woodhouse fold theflag during the funeral for homeless veteran Richard Clarke. TRADITION—Army Spc. Steven An, left, and Lt. Kyle Woodhouse fold theflag during the funeral for homeless veteran Richard Clarke.

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