Students find unique way to show respect
Students at University of Detroit Jesuit High School are encouraged to become "men for others."
Some who attend the all-boys Catholic prep school are taking that belief to heart. They are putting it into action. They are taking on a volunteer activity that 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 recently kicked off the project. They carried the caskets of three homeless military veterans during services at Great Lakes National Cemetery. It is located an hour's drive north of Detroit.
The men, whose bodies went unclaimed at the county morgue, had served in the Army, Air Force and Marines.
Senior Lenny Froehlich was among the students. They wore white gloves and matching school ties. They 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, I think, a privilege," he said after the first of the funerals.
Froehlich and the other two students heading up the project led a training session three weeks earlier. It was held in the school's chapel. They outlined the program for students and faculty members.
The project was thought up by students in the school's Ignatian Service Corps, or service team. It's a way to better serve the community. It is similar to a program at another Jesuit high school, 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 at A.J. Desmond & Sons. He said additional staff members typically are 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.
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why did students wear white gloves and matching school ties?
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