A helping hand, raised in a final salute to these veterans

Military veterans spanning three wars, they died poor and alone.

But fellow vets from the Bronx and elsewhere helped send them to their final rest this week with military honors.

Carey Johnson, 58, who served in Vietnam; George Goodwin, 79, who served in Korea, and Lensey Roosevelt Carrington, 88, who served in World War II, received military funerals on Tuesday, Sept. 18, thanks to the efforts of City Islander Jim Mullarkey, head of the state chapter of the Catholic War Veterans of America.

Under leaden gray, damp skies, the sad echo of taps mixed with the crack of rifle volleys from an honor guard as Mullarkey and other chapter veterans snapped to attention at their graves in Calverton National Cemetery on Long Island for one final salute.

Their bodies had wound up in the city morgue, unclaimed. When their fingerprints showed all were veterans, the Medical Examiner’s Office notified the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs.

Mullarkey, 74, who saw combat with the 82nd Airborne Division in Vietnam, said he contacted the office, hoping like other veteran’s groups, to sponsor burials for indigent veterans.

“We felt no matter who you are, what religion, we want to honor you with a proper military burial,” said Mullarkey.

While the government only provides $900 for military burials, a member of Mullarkey’s veterans’ group reached out to the Brooklyn Funeral Home in Brownsville, where owner Anthony Cassieri was glad to handle the arrangements, absorbing any extra costs.

With a motorcycle escort, a cortege of hearses and members of the Catholic War Veterans, brought Johnson, Goodwin and Carrington to their final home.

Next week, Mullarkey said his group and the Lucchese Funeral Home on Morris Park Avenue will hold a military funeral for another fallen veteran.

“We are more than glad to help,” said funeral home director Joe Lucchese.

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