LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - An Elgin father and son are putting their carpentry skills to good use as they build urns for fallen veterans in the Midlands area.
"These veterans deserve the highest honors they can possibly receive," Sam Bower said. "My son and I do it for them. It's something we really enjoy doing."
For the past several years, Bower worked at the Department of Juvenile Justice teaching incarcerated teens to build the urns, which were then used for burials at Fort Jackson National Cemetery. After beginning in 2013, the program came to an end in 2017. However, Bower continues to do carpentry work at DJJ.
"When the program was shut down, I wanted to continue what we were doing, so I've slowly been assembling a shop here at home that we work out of," he said.
The duo works on multiple projects at time. Once an urn is completed, it's delivered to the American Legion, where it is given a name plate, emblem and the cremated remains are placed inside.
Bower said when he got the call about creating an urn for Dennis Reidy, the homeless veteran discovered in a Lexington park several weeks ago, he didn't think twice about getting started on the project.
"These men and women dedicate their lives to our country and whether they're claimed by family or not, they deserve our utmost respect," he said. "I'm honored to be able to do this for them and that's who it's about, them."
Reidy's urn will be on display ahead of his funeral, which has been set for noon on February 23 at Fort Jackson National Cemetery. Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher says Reidy's family has claimed him and his sister will be in attendance.