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Two veterans died alone; comrades rally to honor them Thursday at Sarasota National Cemetery

Two special veterans to be buried at Sarasota National Cemetery.
Two special veterans to be buried at Sarasota National Cemetery.(WWSB)
Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 5:39 AM CDT
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MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - A very special military funeral will take place Thursday afternoon, as local veterans pay last respects to two men who served their country.

”I’m a Vietnam Vet myself so if I was homeless, I would want somebody to take care of me too, that’s what we’re all about,” said Gary Beardslee, Commander of American Legion Post 312.

Services Thursday will honor Vietnam veteran Manny Fluker and Korean War veteran Albert Hall. Fluker, who was homeless and a cherished member of the Bradenton community, died in early September. Hall, from Parrish, died alone in May. They both will be honored and remembered.

“Nobody’s left behind and once your deceased you’re not left behind, we are your family,” said Sandy Gessler, organizer and historian with the American Legion Post 312. “It’s important to us to step up, pay our respect to these veterans, send them off with honors.”

The public is invited to attend a service at American Legion Post 312, 1610 67th Ave E, Sarasota, at 1 p.m. Thursday, followed by a processional to Sarasota National Cemetery at 1:30 p.m., where both men will be buried next to each other.

Bradenton Mayor Gene Brown, who owns a funeral home, worked closely with American Legion members to make all this happen.

“We’re all there to help, but Manny was never the type that I saw begging,” said Brown. “He was doing what he wanted to do, just helping out where he could, he was very respectful. “You’re going to see people come on this Thursday to the service that knew him and respected him as a person and as a veteran.”

Manny’s family members, including his son, will be attendance. ABC7 is being told Hall doesn’t have any family members. Those who knew Manny best say he touched many lives and he will be missed.

“Manny just liked to blend into the woodwork,” said Laura Licoski, Founder of Facing Homelessness Bradenton. “So it’s amazing, I think he would be mad that he’s going to get so much of this, but it’s a matter of raising awareness.”

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