Coalition conducts services for unclaimed veterans’ remains

The Nevada Veterans Coalition recently honored 15 soldiers and sailors plus one airman at the quarterly Missing in Nevada military service at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fernley.

Jennifer Kandt, executive director of the Nevada State Board of Funeral and Cemetery Services, commended the sacrifices the veterans performed for their county. Thirteen men honored during the service fought in World War II and two soldiers fought in World War I.

Kandt explained the Missing in Nevada project and said the program identifies military personnel whose remains have never been claimed. Because of a change in state law, the remains can now be identified and released from a funeral home to the NVC to conduct a service.

“The remains have been left at a funeral home or in a storage shed,” Kandt said. “No one comes back to claim them for whatever reason.”

Kandt recited a quote from English author George Eliot that applies to the numerous MIN services.

“Our dead are never dead to us until we have forgotten them,” Kandt said.

Tom Draughon of the NVC conducted the service. He said it’s a sad occasion, but at the same time an honorable occasion to remember the 15 men.

He said the coalition’s work will not stop until all unclaimed veterans are identified and they receive the proper military service.

The NVC will now conduct its monthly unaccompanied services for veterans on Thursday beginning at 3 the NNVMC.

The recently honored veterans, which includes two World War I soldiers, were interred in the columbarium by volunteers from the NVC and the Nevada Army National Guard.

Robert Shields (1905-1986), U.S. Army, January 1943-September 1945, WWII.

Samuel Shimkus (1915-1984), U.S. Army, October 1941-September 1945, WWII.

Peter Sigrist (1912-1987), U.S. Army, April 1941-December 1942, WWII.

Lou Silva (1902-1980), U.S. Army, July 1942-June 1945, WWII.

Orville Silvers (1924-1988), U.S. Army February 1943-February 1946, WWII.

Maurice Slechta (1912-1979), U.S. Army, December 1942-July 1945, WWII.

Albert Smithler (1911-1985), U.S. Navy, April 1944-December 1945, WWII.

Henry Stinton (1894-1984), U.S. Army, March 1918-May 1919, WWI.

Andrew Stokes (1925-1990), U.S. Navy, March 1944-December 1945, WWII.

Clifford Suits (1895-1985), U.S. Army, June 1917-March 1919, WWI.

William Sullivan (1920-1991), U.S. Army, January 1942-September 1952, WWII/Korea

Leota Tracy (1919-1987), U.S. Army, September 1943-December 1945, WWII.

Phillip Vahey (1914-1979), U.S. Navy, May 1942-May 1947, WWII.

Angelo Volpicelli (1911-1983), U.S. Air Force, January 1940-October 1945, WWII.

George Wada (1915-1986), U.S. Army, July 1943-August 1965, WWII/Korea/Vietnam.


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