Veterans and law enforcement honor fellow veteran with social-distancing procession

Posted at 7:08 PM, Apr 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 11:00:22-04

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Veterans and law enforcement were able to honor fellow veteran, Richard Lewis, who unexpectedly passed away last week.

On Monday, they held a procession making sure to abide by social distancing rules.

Lewis not only served his country as a Vietnam veteran, but he served 23 years with the Sarasota Police Department, retiring as a detective.

"I had gotten word that they were going to take Richard Lewis from the funeral home straight to the cemetery with no ceremony. That is not right. We can’t do that," said Ronny Mitchell, commander of the Disabled American Veterans Bee Ridge Chapter 97.

COVID-19 restrictions allow only immediate family at the cemetery. So to honor Lewis, local veterans organized a procession.

Sarasota police officers and veterans lined the road to the cemetery making sure to stand at least six feet apart.

"We’re not here to prove a point, we’re here to honor our fellow brother, and send him off properly," said Mitchell.

The procession made a short stop at the Disabled American Veterans Bee Ridge Chapter 97 post where a brief service was held to give Lewis and his family the honor he deserves.

"This is something they take with them for the rest of their lives, to see the honor and the respect that we showed to one of their loved ones," said Brian Russ, Vietnam Brotherhood commander.

DAV Bee Ridge Chapter 97 and Vietnam Brotherhood veterans say they plan to have a proper celebration of life for Lewis when they are able.