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Homeless Navy veteran receives full military burial

Rick Bowmer / AP

Nicholas Henry, 12, receives the presentation of the flag by a Navy representative during the burial for Naval Petty Officer 2nd Class Stevenson L. Roy, a recently deceased homeless Vietnam veteran, Jan. 25, at Willamette National Cemetery, in Portland,

Rick Bowmer / AP

A member of the Honor Guard salutes during the burial for Naval Petty Officer 2nd Class Stevenson L. Roy, a recently deceased homeless Vietnam veteran, Jan. 25.

The burial of a homeless Navy veteran at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland was the 1,000th in a national program that provides military honors to homeless and indigent vets.

Petty Naval Officer 2nd Class Stevenson L. Roy died of natural causes on Dec. 16, when it was discovered that he had served during the Vietnam War.

The Oregonian reported no family members could be found, so the funeral was handled by the Lincoln Memorial Funeral Home through the Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program.

The program provided Roy with a full military burial, complete with a 21-gun salute, missing-man procession by the Patriot Guard motorcycle riders, and presentation of the flag by the Oregon Honor Guard.

Since Roy had no widow, children, siblings, or other relatives, the honor guard presented the folded flag to 12-year-old Nick Henry because he is a member of the Civil Air Patrol and his mother is an executive at Lincoln Memorial Funeral Home, which conducted the service, reported OregonLive.com.

The Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program began in 2000 and is one of several efforts by the Dignity Memorial network to honor and support our nation's veterans and active military.

According to the Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs, approximately 130,000 veterans in the United States experience homelessness in a given year.

-- The Associated Press contributed to the blog post

Rick Bowmer / AP

The Honor Guard holds the flag during the burial for Naval Petty Officer 2nd Class Stevenson L. Roy, a recently deceased homeless Vietnam veteran Jan. 25.

Rick Bowmer / AP

Members of the Patriot Guard motorcycle riders carry the casket of Naval Petty Officer 2nd Class Stevenson L. Roy.