Detroit Jesuit High School volunteers serve as pallbearers at a funeral of a homeless military veteran at Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Students find unique way to show respect
November 06, 2015
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Students at University of Detroit Jesuit High School are inspired to become "men for others."
Some who attend the all-boys Catholic prep school are taking that idea to heart. They are putting it into action. They have taken on a volunteer activity. It has them serving as pallbearers. They serve at the funerals of homeless men and women.
More than 50 signed up to be pallbearers.
Six students just kicked off the project. They carried the caskets of three homeless military veterans. This was during services at Great Lakes National Cemetery. It is located an hour's drive north of Detroit.
The men's bodies went unclaimed at the county morgue. They had served in three different branches of the military. The Army and the Air Force. And also the Marines.
Senior Lenny Froehlich was among the students. They wore white gloves. And they wore matching school ties. The students toted the flag-draped caskets at the Veterans Affairs cemetery in Holly Township.
"We kind of represent the family that is not here to be with them. And that is a privilege," he said after the first of the funerals.
Froehlich and the other two students heading up the project led a training session. It took place three weeks earlier. It was held in the school's chapel. They outlined the program for students and faculty members.
The idea for the project came from students. They are part of the school's Ignatian Service Corps. It is a service team. It is a way to help serve the community. It is similar to a program at another Jesuit high school. That high school is St. Ignatius in Cleveland.
"I think for the young men here at U of D it teaches them the value and dignity of life at all levels," said Todd Wilson. He is the school's director of service.
Kevin Desmond is a funeral director. He works at A.J. Desmond & Sons. He said extra staff members are often brought in to serve as pallbearers at services for the homeless. It is a duty University of Detroit Jesuit students now can fulfill.
"To be able to recognize that need and to offer this respect is really a testament to these gentlemen. And also just the community and spirit here at U of D Jesuit," Desmond said.
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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why did students wear white gloves and matching school ties?
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