Veteran’s body displayed without coffin at visitation

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

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

Taylor told WTVC the family received very little notice before 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.

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

David Cummings told WTVC said Heritage Funeral Home was 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, said she was OK with how he looked during the visitation, and she said 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,” Roe said.

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 the body to the Chattanooga National Cemetery for the burial.

Representatives at the cemetery said 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 with the cemetery.

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

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