Veterans Samuel Jackson of Norristown and Richard Dunn of Conshohocken never met, but one Marine Corps uniform will connect them forevermore.
On Tuesday, Dunn donated his uniform so that Jackson -- whose life was taken by a hit-and-run driver Sunday -- could be buried in it with honor, according to Conshohocken VFW Post 1074 Commander Walt Hartnett.
"He said, 'The uniform just hangs there. I'll go buy another one for when my time comes,'" Hartnett said of Dunn's donation. "He was honored to be able to give it to a Marine."
Jackson, 67, was struck by a car while standing beside his own vehicle around 6:30 p.m. Sunday on the 600 block of Astor Street in Norristown, police said. He was transported to a hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
The driver of the striking vehicle, who was reported to be traveling at a high rate of speed, did not stop, according to authorities.
On Wednesday, Norristown police announced that Nemias Perez-Severiano, of the 200 block of East Main Street, was arrested in connection with the case. Perez-Severiano was charged with accidents involving death and related offenses and was remanded to Montgomery County prison in lieu of $200,000 bail.
Jackson served in Vietnam from 1970 to 1971 and was honorably discharged as a corporal, according to the Montgomery County Veterans Affairs Office.
Dennis Miller, director of the Montgomery County Veterans Affairs Office, said Jackson was a friend of the office who was humble about his service.
Following his death, Jackson's family spoke with Miller about wanting military honors for his funeral, but said they had no idea what happened to his Marine Corps uniform.
Miller spoke with Hartnett at the Conshohocken VFW, who then posted to the VFW's Facebook page asking whether anyone was willing to donate a uniform "for this fallen comrade."
Posted by Conshohocken VFW Post 1074 on Tuesday, November 12, 2019: "It's one of those things. You served, you wore that uniform; for some people, it was probably some of the proudest memories of their life," Hartnett said. "It's just something that they wanted to have happen, and everybody can understand and respect that."
Hartnett was overwhelmed by the offers that poured in -- some people wanted to take up collections to buy Jackson a uniform; others wanted to donate their own. People from as far away as Mississippi called to see how they could help.
"The response was amazing," Hartnett said. "I was getting calls from all over."
Hartnett said he accepted Dunn's offer because it was among the first and he was close to the Conshohocken VFW.
Dunn, who declined a request to speak with The Inquirer through Hartnett, dropped off the uniform Tuesday night. Hartnett said he's still looking for a Marine hat and non-commissioned officer belt to go with it, though he's got a couple of leads.
Hartnett said Dunn was not a member of the VFW because he had not served overseas or in a war, but they made him a social member of the post following his donation.
Miller, a former commander with the U.S. Coast Guard, said he, too, was moved by the uniform donation.
"It's symbolic, it's sentimental, but in a case of crisis like this, it's important," he said.
A viewing will be held for Jackson at Paoli United Methodist Church from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, with funeral services beginning at 11 a.m.
He will be buried at Washington Crossing National Cemetery in Newtown next week.
This article was written by Stephanie Farr from Philly.com and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.