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Hill Country Town Steps Up for Veteran They Never Knew at His Funeral

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When no family members could be located after the death of Leander veteran Mark Lyle Walker, he was listed as an “unaccompanied veteran.” However, shortly thereafter, his “family” stepped forward—at his funeral. Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell Jr. spoke of the community’s loss to hillcountrynews.com, “He is no longer unclaimed. The people of Williamson County claim him and we’re proud to have him as a part of our family.”

Walker’s service records indicate that he was a submariner in the U.S. Navy throughout the ’70s and ’80s, which included work on the USS Ulysses S. Grant as a submarine sonar technician. He re-enlisted, then after receiving the Navy Good Conduct medal as well as the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, the Deterrent Patrol pin and two silver stars, and the Submarine Warfare Silver “dolphins” badge, he was eventually honorably discharged. With a crowd of over 400 Williamson County residents, veterans, and police, Beck Funeral Home was overflowing with those wishing to honor Walker, despite never having met or known him. He passed away at the age of 58 on August 25, 2019, and the Texas Hill Country community stepped up shortly thereafter. Judge Gravell said that he was “blown away” by their turnout. In his eulogy of Walker, he explained, “He’s worthy of more than a simple cremation. He’s worthy of all honor that anyone who served our nation receives.”

Hill Country Town Steps Up for Veteran They Never Knew at His Funeral

Photo: Pixabay

According to hillcountrynews.com, Walker was known “for ‘adopting’ any homeless person or stray animal he met, inviting them into his house and helping them in any way he could, despite being a ‘10 percent disabled vet’ with limited income.” Georgetown Rabbi Jonathan Dade, also a veteran, officiated Walker’s service, during which a close friend of the deceased had this to say about the funeral turnout: “I’m blown away by all of this…I don’t even know what to say. I’m from San Antonio, Texas. That’s my hometown. Well, that’s changed—my hometown is now Leander, Texas and Williamson County.”

Hill Country Town Steps Up for Veteran They Never Knew at His Funeral
Photo: Pixabay

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