Veterans advocacy groups will be part of a growing number of people in Rock Hill who plan to honor a veteran who died this week, three months after he was saved from homelessness by an outpouring of community support.
Bobby Bowers, 84, a Navy veteran, died Tuesday. A funeral date has not yet been set, but the York County veterans affairs office is working with family and veterans groups to plan a service with military honors.
The Patriot Guard Riders have volunteered to be an honor guard at the funeral, said Melinda Woodhurst, veterans affairs officer for York County.
The Patriot Guard formed in 2005, after protests at a military funeral during the Afghanistan War, and has grown around the country to honor “those who served us.”
It has been a part of dozens of military funerals in York County since.
“We are proud to do it,” said Rock Hill Patriot Guard leader Harvey Mayhill.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2889 honor guard and Rolling Thunder veterans group also have offered services.
“We will provide any service we can to help this man, who never should have been in the situation he was in after his service to our country,” said Al Guest, president of Rolling Thunder’s Rock Hill chapter.
Lloyd Comer, captain of the VFW honor guard, said the group would be proud to assist.
Bowers was among others evicted from an Eden Terrace home March 16, as temperatures dropped to 20 degrees. Police officers at the eviction refused to leave Bowers in the cold.
More than $6,000 in donations poured in after The Herald reported the eviction. The donations helped Bowers get an apartment and other essentials.
Woodhurst, the veterans officer representing more than 27,000 area vets, said her office has received hundreds of offers to help since The Herald reported on Bowers’ death Tuesday.
Woodhurst said she is “so proud” of area veterans who have shown compassion.
Want to help?
Contact the York County Veterans Affairs Office at 803-909-7525, or go to the office at 529 S. Cherry Road, Rock Hill.