18 Unclaimed Individuals Remembered By Strangers

SCRANTON -- A class of Scranton Prep juniors, weeks away from the end of the school year, sat in church Wednesday and focused on a topic even some adults are uncomfortable talking about - death.

The 16 and 17-year-olds were among the group to say goodbye to eighteen strangers.

The eighteen individuals unclaimed from the Lackawanna County morgue over the past year.

The Lackawanna County Coroner obtains a court order to cremate the bodies.  Then, at the service they are blessed and then the students act as pall bearers carrying them closer to their final resting place.

"I was thinking a lot about my family because I have a big one, and I know that if this were, God forbid, any of us there would be such a big amount of love and support. So, the fact that we got to do this for other people who clearly didn`t have that, I just thought that was incredible," said Scranton Prep student Avianna Carilli.

While the service was going on, the Lackawanna County Coroner`s Office received a call to go to an unclaimed body. The coroner said 18 for this year alone is not an unusual number.

"In the 18 people that we did today, one is a homicide victim from out of state that nobody ever came and claimed him. There`s an infant in there. It`s just sad that people actually are below the margin or just can`t, at the end, have anyone take care of them," said Coroner Tim Rowland.

That's where the Scranton Prep students step up. A tough topic but an easy decision to do the right thing.

"I think it matters, I think everybody deserves a good end of their life, they deserve respect, and to be buried correctly. So, I think it`s an important role and I`m glad to be a part of it," added student Michael Welsh.

Before the end of the month, the remains will be interred in a crypt at a cemetery near Moscow.

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