Appeal after veteran dies with no family to honor him – organizers are shocked by response

When Marine Corps Sgt. Leo Stokley passed away there was nobody to mourn him. The 69-year-old Vietnam veteran had no biological family members and there was nobody to claim him at Middle Tennessee Veterans Cemetery.

The local funeral director then put a notice out letting people know the arrangements expecting only a handful of people to attend. They had no idea the response they would receive when the whole of Nashville showed up.


When U.S. Army WTF moments group posted a notice about Leo Stokley on its Facebook page they were inundated with responses with more than 2,700 people sharing the post.

*** Call for Attendance (Pegram, TN) ***WTF Nation, we have an unclaimed veteran being buried with no family. Leo…

Posted by U.S Army W.T.F! moments on Wednesday, 7 November 2018


“Yesterday morning, everything changed,” Funeral Director Alan Desmond told WKRN. “The phone hasn’t stopped ringing, the emails and the texts haven’t stopped since then.”

On the day of Sgt. Stokley’s funeral, a huge crowd turned up in support of the veteran including three women who had been Stokley’s caregivers during the last months of his life.

Sgt. Leo Stokely was unclaimed and has no known family, but his funeral shaped up to be an event fit for a hero.

Posted by WATE 6 On Your Side on Friday, 9 November 2018

Nashville resident Kay-Lynn Carew said her daughter shared the post with her on Facebook and asked if she could attend.

“She knows I live here, I work here,” said Kay-Lynn. “She said can you show up, I said heck yeah I can show up.”

Kay-Lynn did more than show up, she also posted flyers in the local area letting people know about Sgt. Stokley’s funeral.

“When you hear about a veteran, and nobody’s gonna be there, somebody’s gotta be there,” she said.

“Lots of people forget, there’s a lot of veterans that don’t have any families left. We’re all the family, we’re Americans, we’re the family.”

The war veteran was buried with full military honors surrounded by a new family that didn’t know him but honored the sacrifice that he has made for his country. Rest in peace Sgt. Stokley and thank you for your service.

Find out more about the people who made this all happen in the video below.

Please share this article and help pay tribute to this honorable man.