A World War II veteran in Perry died without any surviving family members, and the small town is making sure the sailor isn’t left behind by donating services and inviting the public.

Not much is known yet about 97-year-old Herman Augusta White, who died Aug. 11. He served in the Pacific theater on the USS Muliphen and was discharged in 1945 as a seaman, second class. After the war, he worked in sales in the oil and gas industry.

He was born in Wayside and got married to Evelyn Leniger in Broken Arrow in 1941. They had one son, Mickey, who died in 1999 at age 47.

White lived in a little yellow house, and a neighbor across the street took him to the hospital with all his military records, some of them in the original envelope with a 9-cent stamp.

The Brown-Dugger Funeral Home used those documents to seek information for planning services, but countless U.S. Navy offices could not track other relatives.

Funeral Director Rebecca Raines wanted to make sure White received the honorable burial that every veteran deserves.

An Oklahoma City naval officer connected to veterans groups attending military services started spreading the word on social media. Raines then contacted local media with an open invitation for anyone to attend the graveside service.

White donated his house to the Perry First Baptist Church, which is giving $200 to help defray funeral costs. The American Legion in Perry (Post 53) is donating $400 and will provide volunteers to read from Psalm 23, give a brief speech, accept the flag from the U.S. Navy Color Guard and play “Taps.”

The funeral home is donating the rest of the cost. Services will be held 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Grace Hill Cemetery, 501 Memorial Drive in Perry.

This is what America, and Oklahoma, is about. As a country, we owe our veterans a debt from the time of enlistment until they reach their final resting place.

It is inspiring to see how Perry residents are making sure a veteran who may have been buried with little to no attention receives the respect and tradition he earned for his national service.

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