KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) Mildred Wilson was the caretaker for Edward Merrick, a Big Spring native and Navy veteran who died last week with no family to lay him to rest.
"People do care for those that have no family. I considered him part of my family and to know others will accept him that way as is wonderful, it really is," said Wilson
Today, Central Texas residents, local veterans and members of the Williamson County SWAT Team were at Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Killeen to give Merrick a burial with military honors.
The officers stepped in as pallbearers for Merrick.
They said they were honored to help.
“The service they receive should be no less than those afforded other veterans simply because they came to us with no next of kin. As a military family, we are the next of kin,” Texas Veterans Land Board Cemetery Division Deputy Director Eric Brown said.
Wilson also says she was surprised to see the all of the support from the community.
"I had no idea I thought me and the two ladies that came with me would be all that was here, it's a totally amazing how people have responded to a veteran that had no family."
Since the partnership began with the Texas Veterans Land Board and the Missing in America Project 2014, 53 veterans have been laid to rest with the proper military honors.
Merrick's service marked the twelfth unaccompanied veteran funeral so far, this year at the cemetery.