Friday, hundreds of strangers turned out to salute a fallen West Virginia veteran. Only a handful knew him; most didn’t know him at all.
Paul Jamison, a 64-year-old former Marine, passed away Wednesday at the Golden Living Center-Riverside in St. Albans. He left no known survivors.
But his situation touched the hearts of many, and they came out to pay their respects.
One couple, Harry and Rhonda Mitchell, saw Mr. Jamison’s obituary in the paper. “That line, ‘After an extensive search, there are no known survivors,’ really struck a chord with us,” Harry told us.
Harry is a self-described military brat who grew up mostly in Clarksburg; his wife a veteran of the U.S. Army. Though they had no personal connection with Mr. Jamison, the Mitchell’s made the time to attend his funeral at Donel C. Kinnard State Veterans Cemetery in Dunbar.
“We were shocked by the turnout. It was huge.”
Mr. Jamison was laid to rest with full military honors and a 21-gun salute. Members of Brothers in Blue, Patriot Guard, Highways and Motorcycle Ministries, and even cadets from the West Virginia State Police Academy paid their respects.
Paul Emmitt Jamison was born September 17, 1952 in Mobile, Alabama. He joined the United States Marine Corps on April 7, 1971 in Jackson, Mississippi, during the Vietnam War.
He spent the last several years of his life in Dunbar. Those who knew him said he was a very friendly man who was reserved about his past.
After Mr. Jamison’s passing, Affordable Cremations of West Virginia helped locate his military records, said Mike Luikhart, Funeral Director. Luikhart said he had never encountered a situation like this.
The flag that draped Mr. Jamison’s casket will be flown on the cemetery’s Avenue of Flags.
“I will never forget him,” said one friend who asked not to be named. “He was a sweetheart, but most veterans are.”