More than 40,000 veterans spend their nights homeless, per Department of Housing and Urban Development numbers. A high school shop class in New Mexico is making sure 18 such veterans' eternal rest is a dignified one. CNN profiles the wood and metal shop class led by Gino Perez at Valley High School; the Albuquerque teens he teaches have crafted 18 wooden urns that will be used to hold the ashes of veterans.
"I wanted to make it real clear the status of these Americans—they're mostly homeless and they were also veterans with full military honors and nobody claimed their bodies," Perez, himself a Navy veteran, tells CNN. Currently, such veterans' ashes in the state are placed in a black cardboard box and buried at Santa Fe National Cemetery as part of the Forgotten Heroes Burial Program. "It's a lot more dignified, in my opinion, to be encased in wood," Perez said. KRQE reports the urns will be used in burials at the cemetery in October. (Read more uplifting news stories.)