RAYVILLE, La. (KNOE) - Vietnam Veteran Robert Yingling was laid to rest Friday morning. The Desiard Street Shelter, Patriot Guard Riders and Combat Veterans Association honored the veteran at the Northeast Louisiana Veterans Cemetery.
"Mr. Yingling was a very dapper man and he became kind of like a father and a grandfather to all of us,” says Billy Varner from the Desiard Street Shelter.
Varner says Yingling started staying at the shelter for about a year and a half and was a complete joy to be around. "He came down the walk one day and he came into the shelter and he stayed with us,” says Varner. “We were housing overnight then while the Salvation Army was being renovated."
Varner says Yingling served in the military for about six months during the Vietnam War. "He had an accident and he was medically discharged,” says Varner. He says Yingling studied Aerospace Engineering for two years before he joined the service.
Due to Yingling’s injury in the service, Varner says he had some physical disabilities and they tried getting him into a care facility. “Which he refused to do. He said 'I want to be here, why can't I stay here’ and as a result, we just took him in,” says Varner.
When Yingling was hit and killed by a car just before Christmas in Monroe, the shelter tried locating his family but never could. So, the shelter got in touch with Congressman Abraham's office and the community came out to provide support. "I can't thank the community enough...and the turnout here was just great,” says Varner.
He says not only will Yingling live on in Heaven, but he’ll always have a special place at the shelter. "We're going to find a very special place, we're going to put the flag in the display case with a picture by it and he will never, ever be forgotten,” says Varner.