The Memphis community refused to leave Kemp behind.

By Meghan Overdeep
January 26, 2018
Flag over Casket Military Funeral
Credit: Joe Raedle / Staff/ Getty Images

When Navy veteran Robert L. Kemp died in a Memphis hospital earlier this month and nobody could find his family, a group of strangers stepped in to give him the hero's funeral he deserved.

"We just know he was a veteran and that he's passed with no one here," Pete Thedford, a member of the Patriot Guard Riders, told WREG.

A group of strangers stood in as his family and pallbearers, gathering together at the West Tennessee Veteran Cemetery to pay their respects to the unclaimed veteran.

"No veteran should be buried without a family, so we're the veteran's family," said Thedford.

Dozens attended Kemp's chapel service, many of whom wept openly for the man they never knew. One of them, Sue Giannini, explained why she felt she needed to be there.

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"I love my country," she said tearfully. "I can't let someone not be here for him."