PHOENIX - A local veteran who recently passed away will be laid to rest on Wednesday, and those attending the funeral will mostly be complete strangers.
73-year-old Vietnam veteran Donald Moore passed away on November 23. Moore had no living family members or friends.
"He had lived his life after his Vietnam service indigent here in the State of Arizona, and had lost all contact with any family and friends for many, many years," said Jennifer Terstriep, Executive Director of Infinity Hospice Care.
Moore had been in the care of Infinity Hospice Care for quite some time. Terstriep says she and all the staff quickly stepped in, and became his family.
"He was a frequent caller into our office here, and we all knew his number when it was on caller ID, and he was just the most loving man and everyone loved him in return," said Terstriep.
"He loved me to bring him coke. I'd always stop and I'd bring him a liter of coke. I was telling everybody, I think that was the bribery that he would say 'Dawn, I love you' or 'Where's Dawn?' because he knew that I'd bring him his coke, and it worked," said Volunteer Program Manager Dawn Tessmer.
Tessmer sat with Moore in his final moments to ensure he didn't die alone.
"Going to see him wasn't part of the job," said Tessmer. "It was like, well I'm going to go by and see him because he appreciated us as much as we appreciated him."
Staff members appreciated Moore so much, they're holding a proper funeral for him with honors. They teamed up with Wyman Cremation and Burial, the Veterans Association, and the Arizona Patriot Guard riders to help make this final send-off happen.
"No veteran should ever be forgotten," said Terstriep. "He didn't sign up to go for us. He was drafted and was sent to Vietnam, and as we know, came home and got extremely lost and was forgotten."
The service is set for Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. at the National Memorial Cemetery off of Cave Creek Road. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.