Detroit High Schoolers Help Honor Homeless and Unclaimed Veterans

November 14, 2023

Everybody has worth and value.

Campus ministry and service coordinator for the University of Detroit Jesuit School, Richard Mazyck, who leads a Pallbearer Ministry at a local high school in which students volunteer to help with ceremonies or burials for homeless or unclaimed veterans.

Why It Matters: Mazyck explains, “Assisting at their funeral, or at their committal and burial, is a way of honoring their lives, even though we may have never met them.” In honoring the veterans, students may offer prayers or act as pallbearers for the deceased veterans. The ministry was created in 2015 “after six seniors volunteered to help bury three unclaimed veterans,” shares; at the time, former student Tom Lennon said, “These veterans were men I had never met, but they helped make the country I live in safer and stronger. No matter who they were or what they did on earth, every person deserves a proper burial.”

Did You Know? An estimated 33,000+ homeless veterans live in the U.S, an 11% decrease from Jan. 2020. In March of 2023, the Dept. of Veterans Affairs announced a goal to “Place at least 38,000 Veterans experiencing homelessness into permanent housing.”

High school kids step up to honor deceased homeless veterans – by serving as pallbearers (New York Post)

‘Everybody has worth’: High school kids serve as pallbearers for homeless veterans (

by Leah Grainery, based in Texas