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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – On a mission to fulfill a man’s last wish in life, a group of North Texas nurses are determined to see that a military veteran is properly remembered in death.

Veteran Robert Davenport had a wish to be buried at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, with military honors.

With no known family, or relatives to see it happen, Davenport’s last caregivers are determined to see that wish become reality.

When nurse Julie Thomas thinks about her former patient the word family comes to mind. “We don’t see them as a different person. We see them as, like, our own family.”

The nurses at Methodist Richardson Medical Center are as much family as Davenport had. Since he passed away on October 31 no one has been able to find any of his relatives or friends.

“It breaks my heart that he doesn’t have a family,” Thomas said.

Photo of U.S. Air Force veteran Robert Davenport. (credit: Texas Dept. of Public Safety)

Photo of U.S. Air Force veteran Robert Davenport. (credit: Texas Dept. of Public Safety)

Public records reveal little about the 68-year-old Dallas native, aside from an old drivers license photo.

But the hospital staff did learn one important detail after talking with workers at Davenport’s nursing home: the elderly man was a veteran and wanted to be buried at the national cemetery. Nurse manager Kelly Spatz told us, “He served our country and served it well. And we have to protect those people that are making sure our rights are protected.”

With assistance from Congressman Pete Sessions’ office, the hospital obtained Davenport’s DD-214 Discharge Paperwork. Staff Sergeant Davenport served in the U.S. Air Force in the 1960s.

A burial at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, including headstone and ceremony, comes at no cost for veterans. But preparatory funeral expenses can cost nearly $2,000.

Given that Staff Sergeant Davenport was honorably discharged, nurses want his final resting place to be honorable too.

“When they go off from this world, everybody needs a respectful funeral or respectful farewell. I think he deserves that.”

The medial/surgical team of nurses at the hospital started collecting money to cover the expense of Davenport’s funeral on Friday, with the hope that his military burial at the North Texas cemetery can be held soon.

When it happens, all are welcome to come pay their respects and the nurses from Methodist Richardson will be there too.

While Methodist Richardson is not asking for public donations, anyone who wishes to donate toward Sgt. Davenport’s funeral can do so by clicking here. When making donation be sure to note in the comment box that the money is for Robert Davenport’s funeral.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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