BONIFAY, Fla. (WMBB)–Hundreds gathered today at the Bonifay City Cemetery to honor an unclaimed veteran who died Sunday. A man who served our country with pride and patriotism—but leaves behind no living family.
Vietnam War Veteran, Master Sergeant John Charles Stumpf, joined the U.S. Air Force in 1956 and retired in 1979.
“He was a great soldier, he was a great man. But nobody would’ve ever known it unless people came out here today and heard his story,” said David Boswell, Stumpf’s neighbor.
Boswell and Stumpf became neighbors two years ago. Over time, the pair became close friends. Boswell soon realized that Stumpf did not have any living family or known friends. Boswell was all he had.
“He was just a great man and a great soldier, and I thank god for men like him,” Boswell said.
Determined to honor Stumpf’s memory, Boswell gave up one of his family plots so Stumpf would not be buried alone.
And fearing no one would attend Stumpf’s funeral, Boswell took to social media to invite community members and fellow veterans.
“I just read this story on Facebook this morning and I jumped up and got down here to honor this fallen veteran,” said U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Darius Leudtke.
Boswell says he was overwhelmed with gratitude. He did not intend on more than 20 people showing up.
“There was probably over 200 people here today. Most of those are veterans that believe in God and believe in their country and want a better country and they were here to honor a great soldier…and thank god he was honored today,” Boswell said.
Master Sergeant Stumpf was an extremely decorated Veteran holding many awards. Some of those including the Distinguished Flying Cross 5th Oak Leaf Cluster, The Purple Heart, and the Vietnam Service Medal with 4 bronze stars.