Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Meanwhile, In Galveston, Texas...

...a Marine Vietnam War veteran's body lies unclaimed on a cold slab in the morgue because the town can't find next of kin and won't recognize his best friend or his unadopted stepdaughter as sufficient to release the body.

A decorated war hero who died on Veteran’s Day might get his final wishes fulfilled if a probate judge agrees to release his body to his stepdaughter during a probate hearing this morning.

Manual Maurice “C.W.” Walden, a U.S. Marine veteran who received the Purple Heart twice and was awarded the Bronze Star for valor for his service during the Vietnam War, died Nov. 11. His remains have lain unclaimed on a refrigerated slab in the Galveston County morgue since then because the medical examiner has been unable to find any blood relatives.

His close friend Coyt Mangum said that is just not acceptable.

“I’m really angry over this,” Mangum said. “I’ve been getting the runaround, no one would allow me to move forward and take care of his final arrangements because they can’t find any family. His family is gone; I’m the only family he has.”

Mangum, who also served in Vietnam, met Walden in a Galveston bar 25 years ago. The two became fast friends and often worked welding jobs together. In recent years, Mangum built the disabled vet an apartment on the ground floor of his home because health issues forced Walden to use a wheelchair. Mangum said the retired welder was well known around Galveston as a guy that would give the shirt off his back to anyone in need.

As it turned out, Walden was helping others even after his death. Mangum on Monday gave Walden’s wheelchair to Al Perdew, a veteran whose own wheelchair had been stolen from his truck.

Click the link to read the rest. Representative (and Presidential candidate) Ron Paul, whose district this is occurring in, has gotten involved, and hopefully it will be resolved in the near future.

Update: Resolved.

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