Strangers gather to give veteran proper sendoff during funeral procession

DAYTON — A group of more than 30 people showed up in Germantown Thursday to be part of the funeral procession for Charles Coffey. While most of those in attendance did not know Coffey, those who did know him best made sure he had a proper send-off.

Coffey was a US Army Veteran and served in Vietnam. He dies Monday at the age of 73.

Chuck Johnston, of Northridge Freewill Baptist Church, knew Coffey as “Pops.” Johnston told News Center 7′s John Bedell that Coffey was a good guy that “lived a touch life.”

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Johnston and another person who knew Coffey said he was homeless for the better part of 25 years, until a caretaker took him in and got him into a nursing home for the last five years.

Since Coffey had few friends and no family in the area, his caretaker put the work out for people to join in his funeral procession.

Darrell Leedy, of Middletown, was one of the total strangers that showed up to honor Coffey. Leedy was with the organization, 1 More Ride, that does funeral escorts for anyone who needs it.

“Well he was a veteran and anytime we get a call for a veteran, we always try to show up,” Leedy said.

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Some of the other veterans at the procession told News Center 7 that they showed up after seeing the call to action on Facebook.

“He showed up and he took the oath,” Leedy said. “It’s the least we can do.”

Johnston said the turnout was great and what Coffey deserved.

“Pops was a good guy. And I believe he’s alright today,” Johnston said.

After the funeral procession, Coffey was buried after a graveside service at the Dayton National Cemetery at the Dayton VA.