The state coordinator for Iowa, Mary Crouse of Indianola, says the project has one goal.”To make sure that our veterans get the service that they deserve,” she says. “We do visit funeral homes and crematoriums to see if we can inventory their remains.” She says they will bury three veterans from World War Two and Korea, and one spouse of a veteran at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery near Van Meter following the funeral at 9:30 at Hamilton’s Funeral Home in West Des Moines.
Crouse says each set of remains has a different story. “They either lose contact with their family, or the family may not want to take possession of their remains — so they stay at the funeral homes and the crematories. They may be indigent or they lost track of their family long ago. There’s just a lot of reasons why somebody might go unclaimed,” according to Crouse.
She says they always welcome help in identifying the remains and honoring the veterans. “We do have a need for volunteers who can go to funeral homes and see if they would like to speak to us — or if they would allow us to inventory their remains. Everyone is invited on Friday to come to the service,” Crouse says, “I think it is very important to honor our veterans.”
She says they will also take other help. “We do accept donations. If you go onto www.MIAP.us, there is a donate button on the left hand side. People can donate there That’s through Paypal and there is an address to if someone would want to mail a donation too, there’s an address listed there,” she explains. Crouse says if you want to make your donation specifically to Iowa, there is a section where you can note that.
She encourages anyone who has the time to come to the service Friday “It would be nice to see a lot of people show up for these veterans, they really do deserve it,” Crouse says. This is the second year of their operation in Iowa after burying the remains of three veterans last year.