SYCAMORE, Ill. (WIFR) - A community rallies to pay respect to an army veteran who served in the Korean War But died alone in an area retirement home.
"We can't let this gentleman go to his resting place without having a lot of people show up,” said Michael Embrey, who helped organize services.
Robert Reuss died October first in a Sandwich nursing home. His biological family died years before, so dozens of his military and community family members stepped in to remember his life and mourn his loss.
"World War two veterans are dying at 600 a day. We are down to the very end of that group. So its total respect from the community,” Embrey said.
Journey Care Hospice Chaplain Dee Clark shared stories about her time getting to know Reuss.
"He was very independent even at this late stage in his life. He would pedal himself to the dining room. He would say, 'no I don't need any help,' Dee said.
Clark says Reuss was a man of a few words, but occasionally shared bits and pieces about his family.
"I didn't realize he didn't have any children. So it must have been his nieces and nephews that he talked about so much that he loved," Clark said.
And he proudly shared his status as a veteran of the Korean War.
"I did notice on the walls that he had some military kinds of things,” Clark said.
The military is a family of its own and Clark knows Reuss is smiling from above knowing his brothers and sisters in arms helped celebrate his life.
"I’m so jazzed and overwhelmed and saying yes because he did make a difference and people do love him,” Clark said.
Veteran organizations and area police and fire departments also attended Reuss' service.