Funeral for Veteran Who Died Eleven Years Ago 

Joseph Poirier was a veteran of the United States Navy. He worked as a custodian for years at Bangor High School.Poirier passed away in 1998, and his cremated remains were left unclaimed at Brookings and Smith Funeral Home in Bangor, until Tuesday.”Joe Poirier has been at our facility since 1998, and it’s an honor to place him to rest in a dignified fashion.” Funeral Director at Brookings Smith, Jim Fernald says the events leading up to this day started about six months ago, when he was contacted about the Missing in America Project.Sally Belanger, Executive Director of the Maine Funeral Director’s Association says she heard about how successful it had been in Connecticut. “I brought it back to the Maine Funeral Director’s Association, it didn’t take any convincing for them to understand it was the right thing to do.” Said Belanger.The mission of the project, is to find the unclaimed remains of veterans at funeral homes across the country, then give them a proper burial. That’s what happened for Joseph Poirier on Tuesday. His cremated remains were taken to the Maine Veterans Cemetery in Augusta. A chapel service was held, and dozens of people showed up, to see him laid to rest. “Our mission at Wreaths Across America is to remember honor and teach, our motto is we shall never forget, so we figure it was appropriate that we come today.” says Wayne Merritt of Columbia Falls.Sister Elizabeth Kilbride wanted to pay her respects too, she worked with Poirier when he was a custodian at Bangor High School. “He was always optimistic, very happy, very pleasant person, the kind of person who makes your day.”Although it might be a bit late, this day was finally all about Joseph Poirier. A chance to thank him him for the service he gave to our country in the U.S. Navy. It’s been said that Poirier had no family, that’s why his remains went unclaimed for so long. Larry Dearborn of the Patriot Guard says that’s not true. On this day, his brothers and sisters in arms showed up to pay their final respects. “I think it’s damn important. We never forget a veteran or we wouldn’t have the freedome we have now, you or I. I thank the veterans everyday.”The Missing in America Project discovered the remains of two other veterans in Maine that were not claimed but then family members stepped forward in those cases.