Veteran’s body displayed without coffin at visitation

Posted at 2:39 PM, May 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-15 14:39:01-04

CATOOSA COUNTY, Ga. – A family in Georgia was appalled when they discovered their veteran father’s body displayed on a gurney and not in a coffin during his visitation, WTVC reports.

George Taylor served our nation for 15 years and died at his home on May 8th. But because there were issues with his life insurance payment, Heritage Funeral Home in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, refused to put his body in a coffin.

“I told the guy, I said this was very disrespectful to my dad,” George’s son James Taylor said.

Taylor told WTVC they received very little notice prior to the visitation of the issue. He also claims the funeral home told him they would not bury his father until they received the payment.

“They came to me and told me that unless that $9,000 was paid, they couldn’t put him into the ground, he would have to sit in the freezer until we paid it or (until) the insurance came through,” Taylor said.

So Taylor and his family posted several photos on social media asking for help, and within hours, the posts spread like wildfire.

David Cummings with Heritage Funeral Home told WTVC they were trying to let the family have closure and view their loved one. “We serve this community. We love the community. we serve this community in everything we do,” Cummings said.

Beverly Roe, a woman claiming to be the veteran’s sister-in-law, says she was okay with how he looked during the visitation, and she says Taylor is just trying to stir up trouble. “We shook on it. The three of us shook on it and then all of a sudden, somebody comes in and wants to stir up trouble,” said Roe.

The funeral home and the family later came to an agreement, and the veteran was ultimately placed in a coffin.

When the funeral finished, a small procession escorted his body to the Chattanooga National Cemetery for the burial. Representatives at the cemetery say there are specific rules when it comes to burying veterans, and they wanted to make sure they were followed.

“We were concerned when we saw the social media post that the veteran would be interred in the appropriate container,” said Charles Rudy Arnold, Chattanooga National Cemetery.

The national cemetery says there are programs offered by the VA for families that need help with paying funeral costs.