Many people do not know the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office is responsible for caring for people that die in the county who are indigent or whose family members can’t afford burial services, including homeless veterans without any known family. To provide homeless or indigent veterans with proper military funerals, the Coroner partnered with the Dignity Memorial Homeless Veteran Program in May 2013, and to date, ten veterans’ funerals have been made possible.
“This is a multiagency partnership, where we work with the Sacramento County Public Administrator and with various veterans’ agencies that volunteer their time,” said Kimberly Gin, Interim County Coroner. “We are honoring our veterans and giving them the respect they deserve.”
The Coroner’s Office and Public Administrator work together to determine if someone is a veteran and to find family members. If no family is located, the deceased is cared for by Mike Reichert, owner of Reichert Funeral Services who partners with the County to provide services. At no cost to any public agencies, Reichert ensures that deceased veterans receive a casket and a flag; he also makes arrangements for military honors, a minister and a burial at the National Military Cemetery in Dixon. When the veteran’s military branch is identified, volunteers from military non-profits will often find the appropriate uniform for the burial.
“This program was created because every veteran deserves a dignified and honorable burial,” said Mike Reichert. The public is invited to attend the service for each of these veterans and many people and veterans do attend.
Sacramento County is one of only two counties in California that participates in this program.
Writer: Kaitlin Bane, Communication and Media Intern