Detroit high school students raise up homeless veterans in death

28 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘A final tribute': Teens serve as pallbearers for homeless military veterans.

“This was an opportunity to give something to somebody who finished their life on the fringe of society,” said Tom Lennon, 17, a senior at the University of Detroit Jesuit School. “These veterans were men I have never met, but they helped make the country I live in safer and stronger.

Detroit Jesuit High School volunteers serve as pallbearers at a funeral of a homeless military veteran at Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, Oct. 20, 2015. No matter who they were or what they did on earth, every person deserves a proper burial.” The funerals earlier this month were the first in a new initiative of the school’s student service team, led by faculty member Todd Wilson. Wilson said more than 50 students participated in the first training, and additional students have signed up for the next training in November. “The students’ service is so important because they realize how they can give back to the people of our community who have given so much to us,” Wilson said. “They believe that, through being a pallbearer at the funerals of veterans, the homeless, the socially poor and others, they are … offering a final tribute to a person’s life journey.” “I am so glad I was able to help out those three brave men, giving them a proper celebration of the life they led,” said Michael O’Connor, one of the students. “I did not know these men, but being able to show them respect was important to me.” John Desmond, funeral director at A.J. The students named their effort after Joseph of Arimathea, the wealthy biblical figure many Christians see as the most important pallbearer in history, having cared for Jesus Christ’s body after his crucifixion.

Although none of us knew them, I felt honored to be a part of the service,” said Leonard Froehlich, a high school senior. “Above all, we gave these men a truly dignified funeral.” “To watch them develop this program and to give so generously of their time and talent is impressive,” said Wilson. “I have seen our students reach out of themselves and truly give selflessly to others. Three weeks earlier, Froehlich and the other two students heading up the ministry led a training session in the school’s chapel, outlining the program for students and faculty members. Senior Lenny Froehlich was among the students wearing white gloves and matching school ties who toted the flag-draped caskets at the Veterans Affairs cemetery. Ignatius, in Cleveland. “I think for the young men here at U of D, it teaches them the value and dignity of life at all levels,” said Todd Wilson, the school’s director of service.

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