No one expected at veterans funeral, hundreds of strangers show up

U.S. & World

A Kansas veteran who passed away a couple of weeks ago was laid to rest Wednesday.

He was also honored by around 100 veterans he had never met.

“He didn’t like to brag about the good things he’d done. He was very humble.”

Servando Kiko Silvia-Jimenez was remembered Wednesday for his service to the U.S. Army and his contributions to his community.

“He quietly helped a few kids through college financially.”

Many of the people who stood in single digit temperatures to remember Jimenez never met him.

They only knew he was a veteran.

“No veteran is ever buried alone they’re always buried with honor,” said Daniel Watkins, the ManhattanVFW post commander:

After Jimenez’s death Jan. 15, the funeral home and Kansas Veterans Cemetery at Fort Riley searched for his family but came up empty.

So they called on other vets to help.

“One person says something and just spread like wildfire. It’s like we cannot let this veteran be buried alone and he’s not. But it is wonderful that we were able to find his brother. And it’s going to just warm his heart to see all these people that really care,” said Cecelia Shellnut, who is the cemetery manager.

With hours to spare, they found a brother in Puerto Rico.

He jumped on a last minute flight arriving just in time to see his brother laid to rest, surrounded by his brothers in arms.

“It’s to give them that last respect to giving them that last honor. And it’s also — that’s what we do. I mean, that’s — we remember and we call them comrades. We remember our comrades and this is our way of giving it back to them,” Watkins said.

Jimenez served as a medic in the Army.

After his service, he worked, in the medical lab at Geary Community Hospital in Junction City, Kansas.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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