DEDHAM (CBS) – Perhaps life was hard for 74-year-old Don Benson. Perhaps death was easy. The Navy veteran died recently. He was homeless and had no family. But then the young ladies from Ursuline Academy in Dedham stepped in.
“Its an opportunity to honor a man who served his country,” said Ursuline senior Isabella Pieretti.
The school decided to give Don Benson a full funeral mass. So the girls all filed into the gymnasium, the priest came in, and Bill Lawlor, from the West Roxbury funeral home, led the casket in.
“Homelessness is a big issue in this country. It’s something we should all pay attention to,” said student Sabrina Nedder.
The Navy sent reserves to play taps and fold an American flag, which was presented to the school’s president.
Then, they all saluted the man who struggled after his years in the Navy, a man who bounced from shelter to shelter, but asked nothing of people who passed him by.
“He may have been homeless, but today, we were his family. I hope he rests peacefully,” said senior Kristina Canale.
And when it was all over, perhaps Don Benson provided something to the young ladies – a lesson about life.
“I felt honored,” said Kathleen Ryan, “because he served his country; he served us. We shouldn’t forget that.”