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Family, Friends Raising Funds to Pay for Dying Veteran's Final Expenses

marvelRicky MarvelMORTONS GAP, Ky. (7/16/14) — The family of Ricky Marvel, a Vietnam War veteran, will host a concert this evening July 16 to raise money to give him a proper burial.

According to his cousin Tammy Moore, Marvel was given only days to live when he was admitted to Baptist Health CCU July 9. Doctors told the family to begin making arrangements for his burial.

“We are trying to raise money to have him put away as a human being should be,” Moore said. “He has served our country. He has supported us 100 percent and we owe it back to him.”

Marvel was voluntarily deployed to Vietnam with the U.S. Navy.

“He gave his life for his country along with his mind and soul,” Moore said.

After his return from Vietnam, Marvel deteriorated mentally and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, according to his brother, Tony Moore.

“He was what you call a body finder,” said Tammy Moore. “It really, really played havoc on his mind. He would literally go in and find the bodies that had been deceased and bring them back to the ship. If body parts were dismembered, he would have to locate the body part that went with the body. So, he really went through a lot of mental anguish.”

Tammy said through all of his struggles Marvel remained a good man.

“You have to know Ricky,” Tammy Moore said. “Ricky is jolly. Ricky is good. Ricky is everything that all of us want to be. He would give you the shirt off his back. He would give you his last bite of food. He's an amazing person, and he doesn't deserve this that he's going through. Not only is he family, he served our country. He served us.”

According to Tony Moore, his brother's condition and coming death were preventable. Marvel was in the care of a nursing home. Following a fall, he was admitted to a hospital, where he was x-rayed and sent back to the nursing home.

“Neglect had a lot to do with it, to be plain out honest. He was neglected by both the nursing home and the (other) hospital,” Tony Moore said.

Within a few days of the first fall, Marvel had fallen again, according to Tony Moore. He said when he went to see his brother in the hospital, Marvel was dehydrated and not hooked up to an IV. He said he demanded that Marvel be transferred to Baptist Health in Madisonville. He was x-rayed again at Baptist Health and was found to have internal bleeding and pneumonia stemming from five broken ribs not identified by the first hospital.

“He took a bad scrape on his elbow when he fell, and it got infected and turned septic,” Tony Moore said. “It got into his stomach where those broken ribs were. They drained a liter of pus and blood out of him. They said he's too weak and he'd never make it off the operating table, so they can't get all of it. Now, it's just slowly poisoning him. He's laying there with that poison in him and there's nothing they can do.”

The doctors have said it is a matter of days, according to Tammy Moore.

“Some days he can open his eyes. He looks at me and recognizes me when he does,” said Tony Moore. “But most of the time, he's just laying there lethargic. He can't open his eyes. He's just slipping away.”

Tammy Moore expressed gratitude for the support the family has found in the community for the cause.

“Frank Stafford, the mayor here in town, is supporting us 100 percent. The Earlington mayor, Mike Seaver, is supporting us 100 percent. I can't stress enough how much each one of these men are doing to try to support us and try to get the word out,” Tammy Moore said. “Several of the people in town have brought cash or checks by as well.”

Businesses in the community have lent support by donating items for an auction at this evening's event, including food items and jewelry items. Additionally, a raffle will be held for a tanning package donated by Circus Video.

The Veterans Administration will pay for a burial with full military honors at Kentucky Veterans Cemetery West in Hopkinsville and a headstone. The family is hoping to raise funds to pay for a casket and the cost of transporting Marvel's body to the burial site. Any extra funds raised will be used toward a full funeral with embalming and a visitation, according to Tammy Moore.

Just Us will perform at Morton's Gap City Park from 6 to 8 p.m. Hot dogs, drinks and chips will be available. All proceeds will support paying of final expenses for Ricky Marvel.

Those who want to donate may also send contributions c/o Charles Moore, P.O. Box 244, Morton's Gap, Ky. 42440.

Ami Clayton
SurfKY News Reporter

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

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