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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Cape community pulls together to pay for fallen veteran's funeral

Cape community pulls together to pay for fallen veteran's funeral
Cape Cod Online
By Cynthia Mccormick
June 17, 2013

The town of Barnstable, a nonprofit veterans fund, a South Yarmouth funeral home and community members have stepped up to help a Cape family pay for the funeral of a 24-year-old Iraq War veteran.

Edward F. Merigan, director of Barnstable District Veterans Services, petitioned the Massachusetts secretary of veterans services to allow the town of Barnstable to contribute $2,000 toward funeral expenses for U.S. Army Spc. Christian Estrada.

The former soldier, who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, died June 5 in his apartment in Killeen, Texas, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, his family said.

A Massachusetts law providing for the burial of indigent veterans who die alone allows the veteran’s town of residency to pay up to $2,000 for the funeral, Merigan said.

The family is allowed to contribute another $1,000, keeping the cost of the funeral to $3,000, he said. Merigan said any additional expenses are absorbed by the funeral home providing the service.
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