WICHITA, Kan. -

They didn't know the man who died, but Wichita veterans came together to make sure one of their own was buried with military honors.

Joseph Pluimer was homeless when he died the day after Christmas. But thanks to a local program, others made sure he had a funeral.

The 71-year-old served as a private in the US Army for three years. He spent his final years in Wichita, which is where he was from originally. But, he had no legal next-of-kin to make funeral arrangements when he passed away.

Surrounded by strangers and American flags blowing in the breeze, the life of Soldier Joseph Pluimer was remembered Thursday.

"It's just all about honor and respecting them and being there for them," said Angela Foster with Gold Star Mothers.

Foster accepted Pluimer's flag at the funeral. She never met the man, but she and other Gold Star Mothers make sure a veteran never dies alone.

"Our group are all mothers who have lost a son or daughter while serving on active duty in the military," Foster said.

Also present, the Kansas Patriot Guard. They held flags and served as pall bearers.

"We believe strongly that each veteran paid his or her dues and they deserve military honors," said Resthaven Cemetery General Manager Mark Hansen.

Resthaven Cemetary provides the service and casket free of charge through the Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial program.

"There are some veterans benefits available, but we don't apply for those in this situation," Hansen said. "It is strictly done by our company."

It's something Resthaven has done more than a decade. Each time, they get help from area veterans.

"It is very meaningful," Hansen said. "I wasn't a veteran myself, but through our Memorial Day service and the help they give us on services, it means a lot to be able to show our support."

Even though the service took place in Wichita, Pluimer will be buried at the Winfield Kansas Veterans Cemetary.

Pluimer's flag will be encased and donated to a wichita ROTC program, where it will be put on display.

The Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program was started in 2000 and has served more than 1,400 veterans in dozens of cities since then.