ELKINS, W.Va. (WBOY) — A veterans’ group in West Virginia said it has tentatively identified a former Air Force serviceman whose urn was accidentally placed in a dumpster earlier this month.
American Legion Post 29 Commander John Miller said a sanitation worker noticed the urn and a photograph of the serviceman in a dumpster outside the Gateway Apartments in Elkins.
The concerned worker retrieved both items before emptying the dumpster and took them to the local American Legion Hall.
Miller said a cleaning crew accidentally disposed of the urn while cleaning one of the apartment units. He said the crew did not know what the urn was at the time and has since apologized. The urn and the photograph were not labeled with a name.
Legion officials posted the photograph on their Facebook page, asking for help with identifying the man.
On Tuesday, Miller told Nexstar’s WBOY they have tentatively identified the man in the photograph as Robert Deeth of Elkins, who died in 2018.
According to Deeth’s obituary, he served in the Vietnam War as an Air Traffic Controller in the Air Force. He received the Bronze Service Star, the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
After retiring from the Air Force, Deeth worked as an air traffic controller for the Federal Aviation Administration. He completed more than 20 years of service with the FAA before retiring.
Miller said the Legion Post will arrange to inter the ashes at the Little Arlington Cemetery in Elkins.