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Veterans Crisis Line Badge

Story - New

A Meaningful Farewell

After six years with Riverside National Cemetery, Bennie Mann has served families of Veterans under the most heartbreaking circumstances—at the burials of fallen soldiers.

Bennie Mann at Riverside National Cemetery

Bennie, who builds his work duties around the daily needs of the Cemetery, makes every effort to help loved ones get the closure they need.

"Some days they need me to prepare burial sites, other days I may help with cremations family requested or be a witness to ceremonies," Bennie said. "I do whatever needs to be done."

While assisting a burial on a rainy February day, Bennie asked a grieving widow if she would like to lay her husband's urn in the burial site. She nodded, but the muddy conditions made it impossible for her to approach the grave.

Bennie removed his jacket and placed it in the mud in front of the grave site. The widow was able to kneel down and lay her husband to rest. "We've got the wife of a Veteran trying to say goodbye," Bennie said. "It was just an instinct. I don't care about some mud."

His action shows that I CARE, the five Core Values (Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, and Excellence) that define Veterans Affairs' culture, is a big part of the culture at Riverside National Cemetery.

"At Riverside National Cemetery, we are always going to take the best care of our Veterans. The Core Values inspire my coworkers to treat our Veterans with the respect they deserve. I'm just doing my part."

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