Coroner: Donations help fund military funeral honors for homeless veteran

Thanks to the help of strangers, a homeless veteran found dead in Macon is laid to rest with full military honors.
Img 0144

MILLEDGEVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Thanks to the help of strangers, a homeless veteran found dead in Macon is laid to rest with full military honors.

The Georgia Patriot Guard held a military honor funeral ceremony Tuesday for Air Force veteran Joel Kenneth Thomas.

His body was found on August 16. After being identified, Macon-Bibb Coroner Leon Jones decided to raise donations to give Thomas a proper burial.

“I didn’t know this gentleman,” Jones said. “I didn’t know the other gentleman that we buried earlier this year. He was homeless and was found dead on Tom Hill Sr. Boulevard near Dollar Tree. I didn’t know him. I didn’t know these guys, but I know that they fought for our country. They fought for our freedom.”

A funeral service was held at Bentley Funeral Home on Tuesday. Thomas was laid to rest Wednesday at the Georgia Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Milledgeville.

The Georgia Patriot Guard accompanied Thomas’ body with a rolling honor guard. Though Thomas had no known family, Assistant State Captain Sonny Luke says his brothers in arms were there to remember him for his service.

“It’s a great feeling every time we can honor our veterans for their service to our country,” Luke said. “It’s a great thing to do. We’re his family today.”

Coroner Jones says this is the second time this year funds were raised to provide a homeless veteran a military funeral.

Categories: Bibb County, Featured, Local News