One homeless veteran’s funeral is making headlines because a disheartening moment has turned out to be a momentous occasion. According to KFOR, more than 750 strangers gathered to pay respects to homeless veteran, Jerry Billings.
It has been reported that Billings, a former U.S. Navy aviation machinist airman who served in the armed forces in the 1960’s, died on Christmas Eve last year. But, sadly he had no family members to give him a proper burial. So, a noble city worker named Christine Hoffman decided to take the initiative and plan a proper service for the lone veteran.
With the help of the Dignity Memorial Network, the funeral quickly became a great success. Through social media, Hoffman was able to reach an overwhelming number of individuals who decided to come out and pay their respects. On Apr. 30, the Oklahoma Veterans’ Connect posted a notice about Billings’ funeral via Facebook. Although the post received more than six thousand shares, no one imagined social media users would respond the way they have.
Apparently, the disheartening truth about Billings’ life touched a staggering number of people because hundreds felt compelled to attend the service. On Friday, May 1, a massive group of attendants, including military personnel and first-responders, arrived at the Eisenhour Funeral Home in Oklahoma to celebrate the life of Jerry Billings, reports AOL.com.
During a recent news interview, Hoffman stated that she’s worked to organize burial services for other veterans, but Billings’ service has definitely touched her heart. Needless to say, Billings funeral was a heartwarming experience Hoffman will never forget.
“I’ve done other funerals, and I’m like the only one that was there,” Hoffman said. “This was just amazing. Absolutely amazing. My heart is swollen.”
The Dignity Memorial Network, which prides itself on “celebrating lives with dignity,” is considered one of the largest providers for all types of memorial services for veterans. The organization’s purpose is to honor veterans just like Billings. Although it may seem homeless veterans are often overlooked or forgotten, the organization works diligently to ensure they are not!
[Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images; Facebook]