Strangers attend funeral to honor homeless Vietnam vet

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.

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Top 5 Must See

The crash occurred at the corner of College 1 Motorcycle, SUV collide in Selden
The blaze broke out at the Davidson Avenue 2 Firefighter injured while battling house fire in Lynbrook
United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions promised to 3 AG Sessions to MS-13 on LI: We are coming for you
Sen. Phil Boyle is pushing to make it 4 Sen. Boyle pushes to ban posting violent acts on social media
United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions was met 5 Protesters gather as AG Sessions speaks on LI gang violence

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Features

Each week, News 12's Doug Geed explores the Check out fun things to do on the East End!

Explore the Twin Forks with News 12's Doug Geed.

Each week a different shelter visits News 12 Dog Day Fridays Series

Each week a different shelter visits News 12 Long Island with pets up for adoption.

News 12 digs deep to find Long Island's Discover Long Island's Hidden Past

News 12's Danielle Campbell digs into Long Island's roots.

News 12's Lily Stolzberg sees how much Long On The Spot

News 12's Lily Stolzberg sees how much Long Islanders know about everything and anything.

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.

LOGIN SUBSCRIBE