Hundreds attend funeral of veteran who had no immediate family

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MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) - Hundreds of veterans and community members answered the call to honor a veteran who passed away with no known family.

Tuesday’s service was held at the Kansas Veterans’ Cemetery at Manhattan.

Veterans from all over showed up in Manhattan to pay their respects for Sergeant David Lofton.

“One of the things that the VFW supports is ‘We support our living by honoring the dead.’” Lee Pierson VFW Post 1786-Manhattan, post commander, Daniel Watkins says.

Sergeant Lofton served in the Army during the Vietnam War, and retired in Junction City.
When he passed away, Johnson Funeral homes could not find any living family members. So local veterans groups put out the call on social media - asking people to honor him at his funeral.

“To honor an outstanding human being like this today, soldier, veteran, comrade…and brother… It was truly an honor.” Watkins says.

Mahlon Lofton was among the crowd. A genealogist found him just days ago and reached out to tell him Sergeant Lofton was his third cousin.

“You always see and hear about this stuff happening on the news, elsewhere and you never think that you’re going to be a part of that, so it’s … it’s just a great, great experience.” Sergeant David Lofton’s third cousin, Mahlon Lofton says.

Active duty military, retired veterans, members of the Kansas Highway Patrol, and community members filled the crowd - honoring a man most never knew - but who lived to serve them all.

“Seeing everyone from this community, the military family, just complete strangers, taking time out of their busy days, is just a truly sobering and amazing experience.” Sgt. Lofton’s third cousin, Mahlon Lofton says.

Sergeant Lofton’s remains were laid to rest at the cemetery’s Columbarium Walls.