Homeless Vet Who Died in Casper is One of Many
Stephen Carl Reiman was a veteran of the United States Navy.
He served during the tail end of the Viet Nam War on board the missile cruiser USS Long Beach.
And he died in Casper on November 17th.
But, no one knew where he was from, where his family was, or anything else, other than his military service.
He was in a motel room in Sheridan when he fell ill, and died at the Wyoming Medical Center.
And except for the doctors and nurses in attendance, Stephen Reiman was alone.
A group called the Missing in America Project is dedicated to finding these vets who die homeless and alone.
And there are a lot of them.
“As of today, we have contacted about 2000 funeral homes out of about 23,000 in the nation, so we are still only at the start of our project,” said Fred Salanti, who heads up the project.
“We have found cremains in those 2000 funeral homes of 14,202 unclaimed people. Of that number, we have identified veteran’s cremains of 3,206. Of that number, 2,947 are already buried. And the rest are waiting for a service to be held in the area.”
And he points out that, Uncle Sam will take care of the funerals at veteran’s cemeteries for these forgotten vets.
“It’s up to Casper and the county to determine if they are going to pay through the indigent program,” Salanti says. “But a federal law that was passed in 2013 and went into effect in 2014, signed by President Obama, provides an urn or a casket for every veteran who is unclaimed.”
So Tuesday, another veteran who lived and died alone, will be laid to rest at the Veteran's Cemetery in Casper.
Some are saying that some relatives have been found. We all hope that is the case.
But it is virtually certain, at least for one day, he will be surrounded by comrades and a Wyoming family he never knew.