Family: Veteran honored at military funeral ceremony wasn’t homeless

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FARMINGDALE -

A fallen hero who was thought to be homeless and given a proper memorial burial Thursday was not actually homeless, according to his family.

A group organized a military funeral Thursday for five veterans who were thought to be homeless. But News 12 has learned that one of those servicemen, Irving Beiser, was not homeless, according to his son, Ethan.

RELATED: 5 homeless veterans receive proper military funeral service

Beiser was an Air Force veteran who served in the Korean War, and lived in an apartment in Central Islip before his death in 2017. His family says he was an accomplished musician and was active with his church right up until his death in 2017.

His body was then donated to Stony Brook University Hospital for scientific research, his family says.

Beiser’s son says that he first learned about the ceremony honoring his father as part of a group of homeless veterans when he saw it on News 12. He says it was “kind of shocking.”

“I was with my father when he passed. He was anything but alone. He was anything but homeless. He was cared for,” says Ethan Beiser.

The elder Beiser’s body was cremated and then taken from the hospital with the help of a nonprofit called the Missing in America Project. The funeral ceremony was held at the Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale.

Beiser’s son says that the hospital never contacted him about his father. Now he and his family are asking how this could have possibly happened -- a mix-up that left their military hero without his family as he was laid to rest.

“His family should have been there. I should have been there. He would have wanted that,” Ethan Beiser says.

In a statement, Stony Brook said, "The body donation program at Stony Brook only accepts voluntary body donations for use in medical education and research. Most donors pre-register and fill-in our forms themselves, but a few are donated by the family after their passing, and they complete the forms on the deceased behalf. At the time when an individual passes, the next-of-kin signs a release form that is witnessed by two individuals. The program follows strict guidelines, and does not accept homeless or unidentified deceased individuals, and would not designate a donor as such."

 

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