After suffering a stroke, Antoinette Archie, 53, died March 14, at Montefiore Medical Center. Sadly, no one noticed.
After sitting in the city morgue for 31 days, with no attempts from family to claim her, the City followed suit and transported Archie’s body to the infamous Potter’s Field, known widely as the burial grounds for the unknown.
With only a number marked on her pine casket, she was stacked among the area’s nameless citizens, to remain, forever forgotten.
Upon hearing of her surprising fate, Thomas Mullifield, director of veteran’s services at New Era Veterans, Inc., immediately began seeking help to rectify what he called a hugely erroneous situation.
Having lived among the 150 veterans at the vet center, at 1150 Commonwealth Avenue, for more than 11 years, Archie was known for both her dedication to the country, having served nine years in the United States Air Force, and her personal will to succeed.
“Of African-American descent, she decided to become an activist for her fellow vets,” Mullifield said about the resident he grew to know well during her time at New Era.
He added that Archie often expressed her desires through peer counseling and became an effective voice for those in need of guidance.
“She helped guide other veterans through issues that impacted their lives, as well as her own,” he said. “She herself overcame her shortfalls and helped her brother and sister vets overcome some of their problems.”
Determined to give Archie the honorable burial she deserved, Mullifield called John Dormi and Sons Funeral Home for help.
Thankfully he got more than he expected when the director Chris DiCostanzo told him not to worry, everything would be taken care of.
“This is what happens when you believe in God,” Mullifield said. “Things come through for you.”
Archie’s body was exhumed on Wednesday, July 30, and properly buried in Calverton Military Cemetery on Long Island on Tuesday, August 5.
“So she went from a wet grave at Potter’s Field into a beautiful setting where she received an honorable burial,” DiCostanzo said. “I think that anyone who served their country should be honored.”
Mullifield said, “Never again will a veteran be buried in Potter’s Field as one of the unknowns.”
©2008 Community News Group