A homeless veteran who froze to death recently was given a full military funeral in honor of his service.
Jerry Jerome Jackson, 58, died alone in a makeshift shack in a park in St. Paul last month.
Though his death could have easily been forgotten by everyone in the community, it wasn't until a local newspaper published several articles about his death did dozens of people decide to help honor him.
A local funeral home provided his funeral services for free, and a church helped supply a memorial as well as music for him. The United States Marine Corps helped provide him with a military funeral with full honors at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis, where Jackson even received a 21-gun salute from the Honor Guard.
"This is overwhelming to me," said Jerry's brother, Don Jackson to Fox 9. "It's overwhelming."
“Some of us knew Jerry. We were saddened and shocked to hear of his death,” said Pastor Brian Scoles of Our Savior's Lutheran Church, a church near the park where Jerry died. “Truth be told, his death was tragic. We don't have to pretend otherwise. Dying homeless in a park during a bitterly cold winter is sad and a tragic way to die.”
Though Don was the only member of Jerry's family to show up for his funeral, he almost didn't make it. In fact, it took investigators a while to find Don in Missouri.
Don told reporters that his brother suffered from schizophrenia and a variety of other mental health issues that put him out on the street.
He said that he was incredibly moved by the service and even received the flag from his brother's casket.
There are over 500,000 homeless people on the streets of the United States. A third of them do not have adequate shelter at night despite winter temperatures dipping below sub-zero degrees. This results in about 37,000 deaths from homeless people a year. About 50,000 of those homeless are veterans.
Source: Fox 9 Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Fox 9