Major Jaspen Boothe says, “In the military, we don’t serve alone, therefore we should not die alone.”
William Jones, a retired Marine who works at the Quantico National Cemetery, told Boothe about Serina Vine. Vine served in the Navy from 1944 to 1946 and passed away at the age of 91 at the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Community Living Center. Only four people RSVP’d to attend her funeral.
When Boothe heard this, she didn’t just make plans to attend Vine’s funeral. She posted details on every social media platform she could.
“I was thinking my efforts would make maybe 20 to 30 people show up, but when I arrived, there were hundreds of cars lined up,” Boothe said.
Boothe runs a nonprofit organization for homeless female veterans called Final Salute.
Vine was found on the streets of Washington DC showing signs of dementia in 1995. She lived at the Community Living Center until her death.
A graduate of UC Berkeley, Vine spoke three languages, loved to dance, and went to church every Sunday.
Boothe relates to Vine’s story. When Katrina hit, Boothe was supposed to be on her way to be a postal platoon leader. Instead, the storm left her and her son homeless.
A month later, she was diagnosed with adenoidal cancer. She is now a disabled veteran living in Haymarket, Virginia, where she serves as a senior human resources officer in the Army Reserve on top of her work with Final Salute.
“When I went up to speak, I referred to myself as Serina’s sister, not because we were raised by the same parents, but because at one point, we both raised our hand and agreed to serve our nation,” Boothe said.
“She may not have had family and friends, but here we were standing in solidarity together as her family.”