U.S. Army veteran was to be buried alone, but Chattanoogans won't let that happen
UPDATE: Richard "Lance" Deal was a corporal in the army from 1982 to 1986, he passed away last week at the age of 57, and he had no family to stand by him.
"And basically there was just going to be a burial of a veteran and I simply said that wasn't right," said Mickey McCamish.
McCamish is a retired Navy Captain, and when he got the call about Deal, who he met at a veterans meeting in June, he started making calls.
"So a lot of elements that have came forward to make sure that instead of just a burial this veteran is going to receive a full service for his departure," said McCamish.
The Chattanooga National Funeral Home donated funeral services to include a casket, hearse, and funeral director. Three ministers stepped up to do the service, and a color guard has even volunteered. The support is no surprise to McCamish.
"Chattanooga is such a patriotic community and my experience has been that Chattanooga is so caring when it comes to veterans," said McCamish.
He says Deal had his fair share of struggles in life, including homelessness. When he met Deal, McCamish said that Deal was in a period of transformation.
"At that point he was in the process of moving out of an extended stay hotel into a home and at the same time was applying for a job at Goodwill," said McCamish.
"So Lance called me up one day and he had been doing some research online and he was just saying I really want to get into this job training opportunity," said Kimberly Crider.
Deal got that job at Goodwill where Crider, the Director of the Senior Community Service Employment Program at Goodwill, watched him grow.
"He worked hard, everything that he did he tried to do well," said Crider. "Once he got into it and got into what he was doing, he just gave it his all."
Deal was helping with logistics in the transportation department. She says his quirky sense of humor was endearing to everyone who worked with him.
"He made great strides, just the last few months of his life when he came into the program his whole attitude changed," said Crider.
"I think it says a lot about Lance that he was an individual that recognized the state he was in but what he wanted to do was he wanted to remove himself from that state," said McCamish.
Wednesday, Deal's Goodwill family will be there to stand by him.
"So we have been a part of his family," said Crider.
McCamish says that anyone who would to come pay their respects on Wednesday, Oct. 2 at 12:30 at the Chattanooga National Cemetery is more than welcome.
"We wouldn't have the freedoms that we have today without the veterans and it shows appreciation to a veteran like Lance," said McCamish.
PREVIOUS STORY: U.S. Army Veteran Richard Deal passed away last week and it was brought to the attention of the director of the funeral home that Deal served from 1982 to 1986, and that Deal has no family to stand by him at his funeral.
Mickey McCamish has contacted local veteran's groups but says anyone can attend Deal's funeral service.
The service will be held on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 at 12:30 pm at the Chattanooga National Cemetery.
McCamish says that everyone that comes will be the family for Richard Deal.