Hundreds of Strangers Honor Homeless Veteran at Funeral

• May 5, 2015 11:26 am


Hundreds of people attended a homeless veteran's funeral on Saturday.

Jerry Billings served in the Navy during the 1960s but had fallen on hard times later in life. He passed away on Christmas Eve, and, without a family or a home, there was nobody to claim his remains or attend his funeral—so a city employee involved in laying Billings to rest took matters into her own hands, KFOR reports.

Christine Hoffman, who works for the city, took it upon herself to find out more about the veteran.

"I've done other funerals, and I'm like the only one that was there," Hoffman said.

Fortunately, this funeral was different, thanks to thousands of shares about the funeral service on social media.

IJ Review's Jed Smith reports that the message garnered over 6,400 shares on Facebook and helped alert other veterans to what was going on. Thanks to that effort a number of veterans groups heeded the call to honor Billings and made sure his funeral was dignified and well attended, KOCO reports.

His military family took the place of the family he never had.

The U.S. Marine Corps, American Legion Post 353, VFW Post 9969, Catholic War Veterans Post 168, VFW Post 1857, the Patriot Guard Riders, Rolling Thunder and Youth Trumpet and Taps Corps all played a role in the service.

"We want to make sure that we provide a dignified service for them and lay them to rest peacefully," Tramel said.

Since no family members were there, the Patriot Guard Riders accepted the flag. "Nobody should go out alone, and nobody should not have their life celebrated," Tramel said.


Published under: Military, Navy, Veterans