Pallbearers Motorcycle Club work to get headstones on unmarked graves of veterans
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Riverside Cemetery provides a dignified setting to honor loved ones laid to rest. However, among the scores of graves are unidentified sites belonging to American veterans.
As we honor the men and women who served in our country’s military, nearly 200 veterans lay at Riverside without a headstone.
The Pallbearers Motorcycle Club has one overall mission: Leave no veteran behind. Thursday, they honored the first six unmarked veterans.
“Through a lot of research, we discovered that there are 196 veterans here without headstones, so the pallbearers have made it their mission to have these headstones placed,” said Anna Alger, a supporter of the club.
Thousands upon thousands of hours, Alger, whose brother is the president of the Pallbearers Motorcycle Club, spends her time locating these lost veterans.
“I keep a notebook and in this notebook is an obituary for every veteran that doesn’t have a headstone. From that point, I then went to ancestry.com and that’s where I was able to obtain the service records,” Alger said.
“It’s tiresome, but we don’t give up, and you finally get one. We get the waiver and we order the stone. The stones are free from the government, but they’re $300 to have them put in by the City of Rochester,” said William MacNeal, president of the Pallbearers Motorcycle Club.
Veterans are already assigned plots in Riverside, but for some reason or another, their headstone did not make it with them.
“There are four headstones here missing and over here are six headstones. These are all our guys or girls. This is what we are working for – to get these headstones ordered places,” Alger said.
It may seem a tedious task to identify 200 empty resting spaces, but for the Pallbearers Motorcycle Club, no veteran will be left behind, and certainly, no headstone will be forgotten.
“It’s very emotional for all of us… just to see them after 20 years or 30 years and be able to read their name and what they did and where they’re from, it’s very emotional,” MacNeal said.