Private First Class Elmer Mathies finally got the send off he deserves after remains of his body were recently found in Tarawa, Japan, Almost 73 years after his death in 1943.
Chaplain Steve Shaw, who also serves in the Marine Corp. Reserves in New Orleans, Louisiana says, “He was sitting outside a communications station when he was shot and mortally wounded by a sniper.”
Mathies’ family left Hereford in the mid 1950’s.
They’re now returning to give their loved one a proper burial.
They asked for help from the First United Methodist Church of Hereford.
And the church tells us it couldn’t be more happy to assist.
Pastor Kevin Bushart says, “I just think that it is very important to our community and as a church take some time to thank those who have made that ultimate sacrifice, and that’s what really the significance of Memorial Day weekend. this is an appropriate weekend to have this service.”
Though Mathies death was many years ago, his youngest sister Mary Jo Hopsin says she can still remember the kindness he always displayed.
Mary Jo says, “He was just a good brother. I’m glad he’s home.”
Pastor Bushart says he’s done multiple military funerals, but none quite like this.
Pastor Bushart says, “Especially given the nearly 80 years, it’s been since he was killed, to have him finally come home, is quite an honor and it’s quite a privilege for us to be involved at least in this small way.”