SOURCE - RESTRICTION: AP Television - AP Clients Only

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky - 14 February 2013

SHOTLIST

1.

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(Ben Kresse, teacher St. Xavier High School, who helped start a program that brings students and volunteers to funerals for homeless and poor)

"We say I love you to those who are close to us and here we are, the family of Ted, who has no family here."

NEITHER FAMILY--NOR FRIENDS--THESE PEOPLE ARE STRANGERS-- ATTENDING THE FUNERAL OF A MAN THEY'D NEVER MET.

(Buddy Dumeyer, deputy coroner in Louisville who directs the office's indigent burial program)

"They don't own a home, technically they don't have a vehicle they have really no monies whatsoever to provide for their burial."

SIXTY-YEAR-OLD TED ROHRBACH (ROHR'-bahk) WAS HOMELESS WHEN HIS BODY WAS FOUND AT A CAMPSITE NEAR DOWNTOWN LOUISVILLE...THE CORONER'S OFFICE TRIED TO CONTACT A MAN BELIEVED TO BE ROHRBACH'S SON...BUT THE CALLS WERE NEVER RETURNED.

THE COUNTY CEMETERY WHERE ROHRBACH IS BURIED -- IS FILLED WITH THE HOMELESS, THE POOR AND SOME HOMICIDE VICTIMS--PEOPLE WITH NO FAMILY OR WHOSE RELATIVES COULDN'T AFFORD TO PAY FOR A FUNERAL SERVICE AND BURIAL...THE NATIONAL FUNERAL DIRECTORS ASSOCIATION SAYS THE AVERAGE COST IS ABOUT $6,500...

SEVERAL YEARS AGO A LOCAL TEACHER DECIDED TO DO SOMETHING SO THAT THOSE WHO MIGHT HAVE DIED ALONE...WOULDN'T BE BURIED ALONE.

HE STARTED A PROGRAM THAT BRINGS VOLUNTEERS TO ATTEND FUNERALS FOR THE HOMELESS AND POOR BURIED -- IN PAUPERS CEMETERIES.

(Ben Kresse, teacher St. Xavier High School, who helped start a program that brings students and volunteers to funerals for homeless and poor)

"I contacted the coroner and I asked if we could possibly set up a program such as this, and that was in the spring of 2006, and since then we've had close to 900 burials."

THE VOLUNTEER ATTENDEES SAY EVERYONE SHOULD BE BURIED WITH DIGNITY AND COMMUNITY.

(SOUNDBITE: (English) Alec Mudd, high school student who has attended 10 funerals for the poor.)

"I did it for an infant who was stillborn, and we came to the funeral and it was for a lower class family who couldn't afford a traditional funeral and it was really just amazing to see the difference in their lives versus mine, so like I said it's really humbling."

THE CORONER IN LOUISVILLE SAYS HE'S SEEN AN INCREASE IN THE NEED FOR FUNERALS FOR THE INDIGENT...AND HE SAYS HE BELIEVES IT'S DUE, AT LEAST IN PART, TO THE LAGGING ECONOMY.

ON THE DAY AFTER ROHRBACH'S BURIAL...THERE WERE TWO MORE PAUPER'S FUNERALS HELD AT THE CEMETERY.

(SIGOUT) ASSOCIATED PRESSS

(****END****)

 

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