SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A World War Two veteran was laid to rest today at the South Dakota Veterans Cemetery near Sioux Falls. George Ferrel was a double amputee and his journey to his final resting place was in itself, sort of a battle.
One that was carried on by a Sioux Falls woman and her son.
Near the end of his life, with no family and no close friends, George came to value his friendship with Dorothy Allstot at a senior housing community where they both lived. And that’s where Dorothy’s son, Tom got to know him too.
“George was a double amputee, he kinda needed some help and my mother was volunteering her time just kind of help him helping his quality of life be better and they became very good friends,” Tom said.
When George died in 2004, Dorothy figured George would end up being buried in the county cemetery, so she called the funeral home and talked them into giving her, his ashes.
The years went by and Tom’s mom developed Alzheimer’s.
“Then I took the remains into my home and my original plan was to bury him out at the national veteran’s cemetery near Sturgis.”
But the Government red tape was daunting, nobody seemed able to help.
Finally after a year and a half of phone calls and paperwork, with the help of a fellow veteran who knew how to navigate the bureaucracy, the South Dakota Veterans Cemetery near Sioux Falls said they had a place for George on September 3rd.
Pastor Zach Ochoga came to help his friend burry George today. He feels Tom’s mission is a sign of respect to all veterans.
“It’s a supreme example I would say of loving your neighbor, or paying back, or saying thank you in a very significant way to our veterans,” Ochoga said.
Because of cemetery policy, we couldn’t be there today. As Tom completed his mission at the South Dakota Veterans Cemetery, he told us what’s in his heart.
“Obviously I’m going to thank him for his service and I’m going to tell him what an honor it is to do this. to do it for him, I’m honored,” Tom said through tears.
Now George is in his final resting place surrounded by the brothers and sister he knew best. The way it should be, and now thanks to Tom the way it is.
“There is an old saying it’s a soldier’s duty to serve and it’s our duty to remember.”
Allstot says if you don’t have a veteran to visit at the cemetery, he would encourage you to stop by George’s grave. A marble headstone will be coming in about 6 weeks.
There is a directory for visitors to help them find their way around.