COLUMBUS, Ga. – A veterans group in western Georgia is trying to locate the family of a deceased Missouri veteran, so he can be given a proper burial at a National VA Cemetery.

According to retired Sgt. First Class Mark Williams, Cecil Bannister Jr. died on June 22, 2022. Williams says Bannister was not identified as a veteran and is currently buried in Columbus, Georgia.

The members of the U.S. Army 3rd Squadron, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Division want to have Bannister’s remains moved to Fort Mitchell National Cemetery, so he can be buried near his friends and brothers-at-arms.

Williams says the group is working with the local coroner’s office and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to correct the matter. But in order to do so, they need to find any surviving members of Bannister’s family.

His father, Cecil Bannister Sr., died May 22, 2005. His mother, Emi Bannister, passed on Feb. 20, 2005.

Bannister Jr. was born Feb. 25, 1953. He attended Athena Elementary through the eighth grade and went to Crystal City High School. After graduating in 1971, he joined the Army and served in Germany.

The Bannisters lived in the De Soto/Festus area, but the veterans group does not have a last known address.

Anyone with information on the Bannister family is asked to contact Mark Williams at 334-347-0966.