CALVERTON - When Air Force veteran Ronnie G. Phillips, 59, died on Saturday in a VA hospital in Northport, there was no family by his side. But when he was laid to rest today, complete strangers turned out to honor him for his service.
Phillips was a veteran of the Vietnam War who was homeless in the last years of his life. But at his funeral at Calverton National Cemetery, he was accorded full military honors.
"He didn't have a home, but he's home now," said Charles Spencer, of Dignity Memorial Veterans Organization. "He's home among friends that he might have served with, members of the Armed Forces."
Michele McNaughton, who has attended dozens of funerals for homeless vets, received the flag on the Phillips family's behalf.
"I do this because I don't want any veteran to be forgotten," she said.