FLORENCE, S.C. -- BT2 Kenneth L. Ballard, US Navy unclaimed veteran, will be laid to rest Wednesday, 2 p.m., with full military honors at the Florence National Cemetery courtesy of the Missing in America Project.
Missing in America Project is a nonprofit organization that helps find, identify and inter the unclaimed remains of American Soldiers. Since its inception in 2007, the organization has found and identified the remains of more than 3,000 veterans across the United States,
Ballard born April 21, 1952, and who died April 1 was an honorably discharged United States Navy Veteran.
He has no family members to see he is given final honors, which qualifies him to be a part of the Missing in America Project.
The Veterans Honor Guard of Florence, and the United States Navy, have invited the Myrtle Beach and the Florence Patriot Guard Riders, American Legion Riders, Rolling Thunder, and the public to attend.
“We just want to make sure we give him the honor and respect he deserves today,” Larry Truax, MIA-P said. "I know it’s important to him, but he cannot speak so I’ve got to do that for him."
Truax finds unclaimed soldiers through county coroners’ offices, who have had unclaimed soldier cremated remains stored sometime for years.
Carolyn Howard, director of the Florence National Cemetery, has held dozens of ceremonies with veterans since 2012. Howard, who has a staff filled with veterans, said this project holds a special place in her heart.
"We want to lay to rest our soldiers with dignity and honor," Howard said. "They don’t deserve to be forgotten. They deserve to be laid to rest and taken care of, and this is the place where we will do that."
For more information about the Missing in America Project, visit www.miap.us .