Family grieves the loss of Vietnam vet who is awaiting a funeral
The grief has hit even harder for the family of a Vietnam War veteran who died from COVID-19, as they aren't able to give their hero a proper funeral.
Robert "Bob" Coleman was a Navy seaman in Vietnam. He was a devoted husband for 52 years, a father of three and grandfather of seven.
The Oakdale resident died of COVID-19 on March 24. He was 77.
"He was just a genuinely loving person and a stubborn Irishman -- that goes without saying," says his son, East Hampton Detective Michael Coleman. "He worked several jobs so my mom could stay home and raise me and my brother and sister. He was just an amazing man."
Due to restrictions, only one family member was allowed to say goodbye to him. His daughter Sarah says she was met by infectious disease staff and had to wear a gown, gloves, mask and booties.
"I was able to go in my dad's room and sit with him for 10 minutes," says Sarah Steiner. "I was able to say goodbye."
"It's really hard to explain to your son why he can't hug his grandmother, who really wants that hug," says son Michael Coleman.
There has been no passing of the flag for Bob, as funerals are currently prohibited at national cemeteries. But when he arrived at Calverton National Cemetery Tuesday, he was greeted with a hero's welcome.
His widow, who was too upset to speak on camera, says the welcome was amazing, according to Michael.
The family says they now have just one wish for their father: "I hope his memory is so much more than this pandemic."
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