Vietnam vet called one of the forgotten, honored by many

WASHINGTON CROSSING, Pa. (WPVI) -- Sergeant Mathew Kelly was a US Army Vietnam veteran. He was in hospice following a long undisclosed illness. He told his nurse his final wish was to be given a full military funeral with honors. He died on June 24.

That nurse, Jennifer Richello, made it her mission to make that request come true. She reached out to veteran's groups and used social media asking people to come and attend the ceremony.

This afternoon an estimated 200 people answered the call to come out and attend Kelly's funeral at Washington Crossings National Cemetery in Bucks County. It featured a flag-draped casket and a 21-gun salute.

Kelly had no known living relatives. He was married briefly when he was young and had no children. His parents and older brother pre-deceased him.

Sgt. Kelly enlisted in the Army in 1969. He served in Vietnam in 1969 and 1970. He was honorably discharged after he returned from combat.

Speaking at his funeral, Richello indicated Kelly had a difficult time adjusting to civilian life saying, "After his military service much of his life is unknown, however, his life was hard and he was one of the forgotten."

Paige Peters, a spokesperson for some of the groups that help organized Wednesday's funeral, told us Kelly had expressed to Richello that he was comfortable with dying but really wished he had gotten "the welcome home he never got when he came back from Vietnam."
Copyright © 2019 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.