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Homeless Veteran Who Saved Five in Fire Given a Heroes Burial

Homeless Veteran Who Saved Five in Fire Given a Heroes Burial

Honor guard members carry the remains of Raymond Edward Vivier, a homeless man living in Cleveland, who died in a boarding house fire with three other homeless person, Friday, Jan. 22, 2010, during burial services at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlingt

Associated Press

January 24, 2010

After his discharge, Vivier spent years working as a machinist, welder, iron worker and other tough jobs. He loved the outdoors and moved his family from Alaska to Oregon.

“He was just adventurous,” Cruz said. “He loved to see different places and see what it was like to live there.”

When he was homeless in Cleveland, he was proud to have one of the best shanties around, said Fesco, 29, who met Vivier at a soup kitchen.

“We hit if off right away,” she said.

She took Vivier home for Christmas one year and later invited him to her wedding. Vivier was genuine, she said, "a real gentle spirit.

“He was trying to get himself out of some struggles — some struggles with alcohol — and just do better for himself, and he was, which was fantastic,” Fesco said.

Ghanbari, who is an ensign in the U.S. Navy, helped arrange for Vivier’s remains to be placed in a columbarium wall at Arlington National Cemetery. The site overlooks the Pentagon with the National Cathedral and Washington Monument in the distance.

At the military service, seven Marines fired three rifle shots, and a bugler played taps. Elisha Vivier carried a gold urn with her father’s ashes to the wall and placed them inside, alongside the remains of thousands of veterans.

Ray Vivier was quiet, friends said, but people knew who he was. Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman met Vivier years ago while working as a social worker. He said Vivier was quiet, yet kind and compassionate. More than 125 people attended a memorial service weeks after the fire in Cleveland.

“It was a huge blow for the community. This was one of our neighbors who people cared about and knew,” Cimperman said. “We’re less because he’s gone.”


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