A funeral home gave a free service to a veteran with no family. More than 1,000 people came

A motorcycle group takes part in funeral for Army veteran Edward K. Pearson.

(CNN)After a funeral home invited the public to a veteran's service because he had no family, more than 1,000 people showed up to mourn him.

The honor guard silently folded an American flag as members of the military, countless veterans and people from the Sarasota, Florida, area watched on Tuesday.
"It just touched my heart. I just knew that I had to be here," said Melanie Lynch, who drove an hour from Ruskin to the ceremony at Sarasota National Cemetery.
"He served his country, I'm sure very proudly," she said. "I think that it's appropriate that we honor our heroes. I only wish I had a chance to know him when he was alive."
    After Edward K. Pearson had no family come forward, a funeral home covered his services.
    Edward K. Pearson, 80, of Naples died on August 31 and he had no immediate family members, the obituary said.
    When a social worker approached Legacy Options Funeral and Cremation Services, the owners said they knew they had to do something.
    "One of our ways of giving back to the community of Naples is we offer free funeral services to any indigent or homeless veterans," funeral director Michael Hoyt told CNN on Monday.
    Pearson's discharge papers say he served in the Army and reached the rank of private first class, according to the funeral home. He served from February 1962 and was honorably discharged in 1964.
    One of Pearson's neighbors, also a veteran, requested his discharge papers so Pearson could be buried in a national cemetery, Hoyt said.
    "We reached out to some of the local veterans' organizations in the county and we said we were afraid that no one would come except for us and the military honors," Hoyt said.