Hundreds of Strangers Gather to Honor a Vietnam War Veteran Who Died Alone: 'He Had No One'
The 77-year-old man was found unresponsive inside his home on Dec. 9
Hundreds of strangers gathered on Friday to honor a veteran who died alone.
Nearly 1,000 people showed up at the Brigadier Gen. William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery in North Hanover, New Jersey, to pay their respects to Peter Turnpu, according to USA Today.
On Dec. 9, Turnpu was found unresponsive inside his home in Atco by a neighbor, who frequently checked on him, the outlet reported.
The Army veteran died of natural causes, New Jersey Herald reported. He was 77.
Turnpu had no known relatives and for the most part, kept to himself.
Touched by his story, police officer LeRoy Wooster took it upon himself to plan Turnpu’s funeral.
“It was the right thing to do. I didn’t want him to be buried alone,” Wooster told New Jersey Herald.
Wooster, who is also owner of LeRoy Wooster Funeral Home in Atco, arranged for Turnpu to buried with military honors, USA Today reported.
The amount of support was overwhelming, some attendees didn’t even get to visit Turnpu’s graveside as the crowd was so massive.
“It shows a great amount of support for our veterans. Everyone was pleased to see the number of people who came. They came together like one big family and the procession that began from a nearby church had more than 200 cars,” Wooster told USA Today.
“He had no one, and the neighbor told me he was a loner,” Wooster explained.
Among those in attendance were other veterans and members of the military.
“There were veterans from all the armed services. I lost count of all the cars in the procession,” a spokeswoman for the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Kryn Westhoven said, USA Today reported.
Through research, Wooster discovered Turnpu was born in Estonia and came to the United States in 1955, the outlet reported.
He served in the Army from 1964-66. His time in service includes a tour in Vietnam.