Hundreds help say goodbye to a local Army veteran without family

Community gathers to hold proper ceremony for local veteran

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Hundreds of people helped say goodbye to a local Army veteran they didn’t know.

Action News Jax told  you last month when Baker County commissioners asked people if they could attend the funeral service for Michael Allevato.

A crowd gathered with their heads bowed, surrounding a small urn with an American Flag at the Jacksonville National Cemetery.

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Veterans came from all over to give one of their own a final salute.

Michael Allevato was an Army veteran from Baker County.

He was only 67 years old when he died in 2017.

“I seen on Facebook that the veteran had passed away and didn’t have friends and family,” Esteban Soto, an Army veteran, said.

Soto drove an hour and a half from Palm Coast to pay his respects.

“Even though he might not have had anybody in the past, his brothers and sisters are all with him right now," Soto said.

The Baker County Board of Commissioners told us they tried for two years to find Allevato's family or friends, but they didn’t have any luck.

The Baker County  Veterans Service Office took over and was able to help set up a plot at the Jacksonville National Cemetery.

Baker County Commission Chair Cathy Rhoden says it was overwhelming to see all the support, and not just from her county.

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“He had no blood family, but today he had family, and that really means a lot to us,” Rhoden said.

During the ceremony, the American the flag was folded by active duty service members and given to Baker County commissioners.

That flag will head back to Baker County where it can proudly be displayed so Allevato is never forgotten.