Hundreds attend Memorial Service for homeless veteran in Wyoming
They had never met Stephen Carl Reiman, but hundreds of people packed a Wyoming chapel on Tuesday to mourn the homeless U.S. Navy veteran who died where he was a stranger.It was standing room only at the chapel in Evansville for Reiman's funeral, the Casper Star-Tribune reported.Reiman, 63, arrived in Sheridan on Nov. 8 after a three-day bus ride from a Southern California community for homeless veterans. He traveled to Wyoming with just a backpack that contained Bruce Springsteen CDs, a cellphone, a laptop, an iPod, two identification cards, a copy of his birth certificate and his Navy discharge papers. He also carried Springsteen's memoir "Born to Run," Natrona County Coroner Connie Jacobson said.
I attended the funeral service. I am never good at guessing the size of crowds but the Veteran's Chapel holds about 250 or 275 and there was standing room only, so perhaps there were 400 attending. ALL branches of the service were represented in number, as well as members of the Casper, Mills and Evansville Fire and Police Departments. The Navy performed the escort and Flag fold parts of the service, presenting the flag to his sister, Diane, with the shell casings from the rifle salute as a remembrance. A procession headed by the Casper, Mills and Evansville Fire and Police departments followed by the Wyoming Patriot Guard brought the remains to the Veteran's Chapel, where more Veterans holding American Flags were spaced about 20 feet apart for about 200 to 300 yards on a 25 degree (F) day with wind blowing about 15 miles per hour and snow falling. Cars had to park as far away as 1/2 mile to access the Chapel for the service to recognize and honor this fallen homeless veteran transient without complaint.
The Brigade Chaplain from the Wyoming National Guard performed the message. In his remarks he made at least these three major points. Although Mr. Reiman appeared to suffer from depression, PTSD and alcoholism and thought he was alone….1) Brothers/Sisters from the service were ready to help him; 2) People who did not even know him stood ready to care for and stand with him; and 3) ALL would honor him for his service despite the demons he was facing so he did not have to face them alone, which was evidenced by those attending the service today.
The further point he made was that these Brothers/Sisters in arms and veterans, this community (from all over the country) with caring people stand ready to help ANY serviceman/woman in need, to honor them so they don't have to face their demons alone.