Local News

Jan 11, 2014 11:43 PM by Olivia DeGennaro, KSBY News

Santa Maria community comes together to remember homeless veteran

People came together in Santa Maria on Saturday to honor the life of a man many of them never knew.

William Robert Rothfuss was a homeless veteran who lived at the Good Samaritan Homeless Shelter in Santa Maria for the past two years.

He hadn't been in touch with his family for many years, and they live out of the state.

When he died of an illness on Christmas Eve, the staff at Good Samaritan decided to have a memorial service for a man they considered part of their family.

"Bill was awesome," Director of Shelter Operations Kirsten Cahoon said. "He was just a really friendly, happy guy that loved to come in and tell me a joke and give me a gift and was always trying to give me chocolate telling me I needed to fatten up. He was just a really cool guy, I mean he was part of our family here."

Community members who had never met Rothfuss honored the Vietnam-era veteran with a full color guard and gun salute.

He died right before he was about to move into permanent housing.

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