Indigent veteran received military burial after Glendale service

The Queens County Committee of the American Legion will once again hold a funeral service at George Werst Funeral Home in Glendale for an indigent veteran.
Photo by Anthony Giudice/QNS

One veteran finally received a proper military burial thanks to the work of the Queens County Committee of the American Legion.

Russel Platt was born on July 7, 1931 and served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War Era from March 14, 1949 to Jan. 26, 1954. He died in the Bronx on Jan. 12.

When Platt died he was not survived by any known family; as an organizational friend of unclaimed veterans, the Queens County Committee of the American Legion is tasked to perform the honorable duty of giving indigent veterans such as Platt a proper burial at Calverton National Cemetery.

“Russell Platt has no other friends or family to honor him except the American Legion and the veteran community,” said Paul J. Schottenhamel, Commander of the Queens County American Legion and Chairperson of the Unclaimed Veteran Burial Committee. “With the help of the George Werst Funeral Home, we hope to give him this final honor.”

The service took place on Tuesday morning at George Werst Funeral Home, located at 71-41 Cooper Ave. in Glendale. After the veteran service, Platt was brought to Calverton National Cemetery for a proper veteran’s burial.

Platt had been scheduled for interment on Nov. 25, but when the funeral director went to pick up the body, it was discovered that Platt had already been buried in City Cemetery on Hart Island, commonly known as Potter’s Field.

The Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs (MOVA) was immediately notified of the error and they took prompt action to have the body disinterred as quickly as possible. A review of the city’s process was conducted and new procedures have been put in place to prevent a repeat of this mistake for future indigent veterans.

“I wish to thank the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs, especially Ms. Ines Adan, and the other city agencies involved in this incident, for promptly resolving this issue,” Schottenhamel said.

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