LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - On February 8, 68-year-old Private First Class William A. Powers died alone in a central Arkansas hospital. He was a veteran who was nearly forgotten, but nearly 100 veterans who never met him, made sure Powers was laid to rest with the honor deserving of a hero.
Powers served as a soldier in the Vietnam War from 1966 until 1969. He was given a proper burial at Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery, thanks to a few phone calls.
"It's a very heartfelt appreciation for the service and sacrifice," said Jerry Ashby, Patriot Guard Riders.
They showed up not because they knew him, but because no one else did.
“We attempted to find family. There was none," said Mike Frazier, manager at Roller-McNutt Funeral Home.
Maybe it's fate Mike Frazier's funeral home received the call from the hospital.
“It's very sad," Frazier said. "No one should leave the world like that."
As a fellow veteran himself, he felt it was his duty to provide a proper burial.
“It's something that touches my heart," said Frazier.
Members of the Patriot Guard Riders reached veterans from all over to attend and served as pallbearers.
"He is my brother and that’s why I’m here. I’m going to honor him and stand for him," said Ashby.
These veterans showed up for a man they never even met and called themselves his family.
"He was not without family present because we feel he is family to us," said veteran Michael Nuckolls.
Roller-McNutt Funeral Home provided everything and with these men and women, Powers was peacefully, respectfully, and honorably laid to rest.
"We call each other comrade because we have that in common that we served our country in the military, but we also call each other brother and he was our brother," said Nuckolls.
So, while they know little about him, maybe these veterans are answering the biggest call of duty by being there when he needs them most.
“We look at Powers as one of our brother, one of our brothers in arms," said Ashley Little, Sr. Vice Commander for Dept. of Arkansas VFW.
The funeral home and fellow vets are still looking for his relatives. Frazier explained as far as they know, PFC Powers was homeless.