ELKINS, W.Va. (WBOY) — Leaders at American Legion Post 29 in Elkins say they have tentatively identified an Air Force veteran whose funerary urn was accidentally placed in a dumpster earlier this month.
Post 29 Commander John Miller told 12 News a City of Elkins sanitation worker noticed the urn and retrieved it before the dumpster could be emptied into a garbage truck. The concerned city employee brought the urn and a photograph of a man in an Air Force uniform, which was also found in the dumpster, to the Legion Hall.
According to Miller, the urn was accidentally disposed of by a crew that was cleaning out one of the Gateway Apartments in Elkins. Miller said the crew did not know what the urn was at the time and has since apologized. The urn and the photograph were not labeled with a name.
Legion officials posted the photograph on their Facebook page, asking for help with identifying the man.
On Tuesday, Miller told 12 News they have tentatively identified the man in the photograph as Robert Deeth of Elkins, who died in 2018.
According to Mr. Deeth’s obituary, he served in the Vietnam War as an Air Traffic Controller in the Air Force. He received the Bronze Service Star, the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. After retiring from the Air Force, Deeth worked as an air traffic controller for the Federal Aviation Administration. He completed more than 20 years of service with the FAA at the time of his retirement.
Miller said the Legion Post will make arrangements to inter the ashes at the Little Arlington Cemetery in Elkins.