The Norman Transcript

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November 16, 2012

Homeless vet to be buried

NORMAN — Charles Edward Wren, 64, will be buried today with the military rites of an American veteran.

He has no known family, and indications are he had no home.

A friend of the veteran will accept the American flag that will drape his casket.

Services will be at 10 a.m. today at Primrose Funeral Home, with burial at 1 p.m. in Fort Sill National Cemetery.

Members of the Patriot Guard will escort the Vietnam-era soldier to his final rest.

Originally from Fairfield, Iowa, Wren served in the U.S. Army from 1967-70.

“We will stand guard outside the funeral home, and many of us will attend the service,” said Randy Gilreath, senior ride captain for the Patriot Guard. “Then we will escort him to Elgin for burial at the national cemetery.

“Just after we get off the turnpike, we will flag up and escort him on to the cemetery with flags flying,” Gilreath said.

Wren had no legal next of kin to make funeral arrangements.

Arrangements are by Primrose Funeral Home through its Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program.

According to a news release from the funeral home, more than 150,000 U.S. veterans are homeless. Many of those veterans are at risk of burial in paupers’ graves as their remains go unclaimed.

Through Primrose’s veterans program, Wren won’t be among them.

“This isn’t about us,” the Patriot Guard’s Gilreath said of the escort duty. “This is about the veterans, so that they are honored.”

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