OKLAHOMA CITY – Nearly 1,000 strangers showed up to a homeless Oklahoma City veteran’s funeral
Jerry Billings was a U.S. Navy aviation machinist airman who served his country in the 1960s.
On Christmas Eve, the 69-year-old man passed away with no family to claim his remains.
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.
“This was just amazing. Absolutely amazing. My heart is swollen,” Hoffman said.
More than 750 people, from military men and women to first responders and bikers showed up to pay their respects to a man they never even knew.
The Dignity Memorial Network, a program that helps provide burial services to homeless veterans, helped with the funeral service.
“Whatever happened in the preceding years when they ended up homeless and somebody had forgotten their name, we want to give them the opportunity to give their name back,” Jared Newman said. “We’ll honor him in death for a decision he made when he was in his 20s.
It’s a day to give the man who did so much for our country a proper goodbye.