When the Military Veteran Peer Network (MVPN) in Midland/Odessa was contacted about the passing of two unattended veterans and their upcoming funeral needs, they set out to raise funds to cover cremation and other costs so that the veterans would be buried with the honors they deserved. Through their fundraising efforts, family members were found.
“LeAnne Thornton and I were contacted about two local veterans that recently passed and they could not find any kin,” said Jayni Whitefield, Texas Veterans Commission Certified Peer Service Coordinator of MVPN and Army veteran.
Thornton, Veterans Outreach Programs Specialist at the Midland Vet Center and Whitefield work closely together. Whitefield received word about the unattended veterans through her involvement with medical care.
“We got with the local news to air the story to reach out to the community to help raise funds for the minimal $3,500 to cremate both veterans and place them in the State Veterans State Cemetery in Abilene. Watch the NewsWest 9 story.
The unattended veterans were Marine Corps veteran George Thomas and Air Force veteran David McGivney.
“We had an overwhelming response from the public. We raised over $15,000 to help not only these two veterans but enough for future unattended veterans.”
In what Whitefield called “the second miracle to this story,” due to the news stories and getting the word out, a family member for each veteran was found.
Thomas and McGivney received the proper send offs they deserved in February 2023.