Five vets whose remains rested in a basement to be buried in SA today

April 21, 2017 GMT

Five veterans whose remains were kept in the basement of the Potter County courthouse in Amarillo will be given final honors today in a ceremony at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.

The remains of Jerry Stephen Harris, Laird Orton Jr., Michael Papinchak, Michael Wayne Topp and Ronald Stevenson arrived in San Antonio late yesterday after a long road trip that included a two-mile caravan by some estimates.

The men, who served in Korea, Vietnam and the Cold War, died destitute and alone in the Amarillo area. Their remains rested in the basement of the Potter County Courthouse, unclaimed by relatives.

They are being buried with the help of the Missing in America Project, which sparked an effort to confirm the veteran status of the homeless men.

“These guys deserve it,” Potter County Judge Nancy Tanner said in an interview. “They went to war not knowing if they were coming back alive, and then when they did come back they came back to civilian life only to die all alone, all by themselves.”