Roanoke community supports funeral for homeless veteran

By Rob Manch - Reporter
Headline Goes Here Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - A Vietnam veteran, who died with barely enough money to afford housing, was laid to rest with full military honors Friday at Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens in Roanoke.

It's a story WSLS first began covering last week.

People from the Roanoke community donated more than $8,500 to Dennis Robey's family to make sure he was remembered for his service to our country.

Robey's family and friends say this experience has been something that's restored their faith in humanity.

Two weeks ago, April Webb didn't think she would be able to bury her father, but in just 10 days, a Go Fund Me page and the goodwill of complete strangers changed everything.

"Everybody came together to make all of his, everything that he wanted come true," said Webb.

A service fit for a soldier.

It's something Webb says her father deserved, and that she's proud to be able to give him.

"He said before that he hated going over in the war, but now that he had children and grandchildren, he would do it all over again to protect all of us," said Webb.

Webb says it's simply Good Samaritans she has to thank for granting her father's dying wish.

People like Victoria Herrera, who started the Go Fund Me page.

"This is exactly, absolutely what he would have wanted, and i'm so happy that the community... could all come together and actually give this to him and send him off right," said Herrera.

Several military organizations donated their time and resources for the service as well.

One of those was Disabled American Veterans.

"It's our belief that every veteran deserves the military honors when they're buried, and no matter their circumstance in life, they've earned this right," said member Roger Clites.

Clites says there's a message to be learned from the love that people showed Robey.

"I'm hoping with Mr. Robey's story that people help look after their fellow man, the homeless, our veterans," said Clites.

The service ended with Webb being gifted a flag in her father's honor, something she never thought she would receive.

"Thank everybody so much. it meant the world to us," said Webb.

Before Robey died, Webb says he had requested to buried in Roanoke, where he could be near the mountains.

That's something she thanks the community for making a reality.

Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved