Hundreds of strangers attend funeral for homeless Navy vet with no known relatives following online campaign
A formerly homeless Navy vet with no known family had a lonely death — but a hero’s send-off at her funeral, thanks to a social media campaign.
About 200 strangers turned up to the military funeral for World War II vet Serina Vine, after they found out online that the services would be sparsely attended.
“That didn’t sit right with me,” Army Maj. Jaspen Boothe, who started the social media effort, told ABC News.
Vine, who served in the Navy between 1944 and 1946, died at 91 in a Washington, D.C. VA hospital, where she lived alone for 20 years. She was homeless before moving to the VA hospital. Vine never married and had no children.
Boothe, who also used to be homeless, found out about Vine’s funeral plans through a Facebook message from a fellow Marine vet, and sprung to action by contacting veterans’ groups.
About 200 people attended Serina Vine’s funeral following the online campaign.
One of the groups, Ms. Veteran America, advertised on Facebook that only three people were planning on attending Vine’s funeral.
When Booth arrived to the cemetery, she was shocked at the mob of people who showed up to honor Vine.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Martin Fuller of the the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs told ABC, of the turnout at Virginia’s Quantico National Cemetery.
“I felt like I had to go because I didn’t think anyone was going to show up. The information went viral.”
Fuller met Vine in the VA Community Living Center in Washington D.C., where she died this week.
Vine served during World War II working in radio intelligence, and spoke three languages, according to the post from Ms. Veteran America.
“She was an educated woman, she loved to dance and go to church on Sunday,” Boothe said.
Vine was laid to rest with full military honors, including a 21-gun salute.
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