Found and Not Forgotten; CM Hosts Funeral of Veteran Markham Lyons
West Roxbury, Mass.— Air Force veteran Markham Lyons passed away without a single living friend or family member left behind. So, when Barrett Pratt and seven of his Catholic Memorial School football teammates carried his casket into their school’s chapel on Tuesday morning, they offered Mr. Lyons one final gift.
Alongside Hunter Tully, Gerard McDermott, Hunter Salmon, Khari Johnson, Devon Williams, William Stockwell, and Jordan Laudani, Barrett served as a pallbearer at Mr. Lyons’ funeral just three days before their South Sectional Semi-Final matchup against Needham.
“Being part of this funeral really hits home to me,” said Barrett, the team's junior quarterback.
“Being a quarterback, you must be a leader on and off the field. People follow your lead, and hopefully people can take this example and bring this into their daily lives.”
Hosted at CM, the funeral offered full military honors to Mr. Lyons, who served in the Vietnam War. An Air Force honor guard issued a customary playing of Taps, presentation of the American flag, and a final salute. Father Donald MacMillan, S.J., Associate Pastor of St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish in Chestnut Hill, celebrated the funeral Mass.
As pallbearers, the football team carried on CM’s mission of solidarity with those on the margins. Last November, CM began hosting funerals for homeless veterans when the school laid to rest Army veteran John T. Fitzmaurice who died in the streets with no living friends or family.
CM hosted two more funerals for homeless veterans later that year. On each occasion, a different varsity sports team or extracurricular group led the service as pallbearers. Mr. Lyons’ funeral now marks CM’s fourth funeral service for homeless veterans.
“Think about the sacrifice that so many people make in everyday life,” said CM President Dr. Peter Folan at the service.
“Heroes walk among us. It is important that we recognize that there are everyday heroes who work among us, who walk in the street. Today is a day that we honor all of those heroes.”
“Markham Lyons, welcome to the Catholic Memorial family.”
Mr. Kevin Durazo, the Director of Campus Ministry, sees these funerals as a component of the CM Service program. Through the CM Service program, students complete over 15,000 service hours in the greater-Boston area each year. They serve at organizations such as homeless shelters, food pantries, and the neighboring West Roxbury Veteran’s Affairs Hospital. Ideally, Mr. Durazo hopes to host one veteran funeral at the school's chapel every academic quarter.
CM partners with Lawler and Crosby Funeral Home for the planning purposes of each veteran’s funeral. They provide the casket, hearse, and transportation needed for the burial. The funeral home buried Mr. Lyons at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne, Mass.
“Sometimes being there with someone who has no one else to be with can be more meaningful than you may think,” said Hunter Tully, reflecting on the service.
“The celebration of Mr. Lyons’ life inspired me to be more present and impactful in the lives of others. This amazing act of service just goes to show what type of community Catholic Memorial is.”