Detroit students serve homeless vets… as pallbearers

 University of Detroit Jesuit School

The University of Detroit Jesuit High School is providing homeless veterans with something that the rest of the nation has refused to provide: a little respect. Unfortunately, they have to die to get it.

NPR’s “Here and Now” reports today on the “Palbearer Ministry” in which the student volunteers serve as pallbearers for homeless vets who have died.

They’ve served at three funerals so far and “Here and Now” says their goal is to bring dignity to the deceased.

“Overall, it gave me a perspective on another way to live life, to see how pure and special a person’s life is,” volunteer Joshua Gonzalez, a senior, told the radio program from WBUR. “And as a new ministry, we hope to preserve and dignify the honor and respect that all human beings deserve to have throughout their lives.”

The idea stems partly from an effort at a Cleveland, Ohio, school where up to 400 boys serve as pallbearers for area families.

The Takeaway profiled that group last year.

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According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, there were 49,933 homeless veterans in the U.S. last year.