GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A Gulfport man is asking for the community's help to bury a once homeless veteran. Oscar Davis died on November 29th. He had no life insurance and few material possessions. But he did have something else.
"Just a simple guy with a great sense of humor. He didn't ask for much," said Jamie Bates. "Oscar was a great, great man."
Just last year, Oscar Davis was approved for housing assistance through a VA program designed to get homeless veterans off the streets.
"Oscar lived in this area here for a number of years. He lived in a car for a while. He lived in the woods, just trying to survive," said Bates.
Jamie Bates is well-known for his volunteer work in the homeless community. That's how he came to know Oscar Davis.
"Oscar served in the United States Army for three years in the late 70s, and then he served as a reservist for three years after that," said Bates.
Davis died without a penny to his name. That's why Bates is crowdsourcing through Beeabacker to help pay for Oscar's funeral.
"It's my understanding that the VA will cover the actual cost of digging the grave, and the site. We have expenses with the funeral home including the coffin, services to handle and store the body," said Bates.
Oscar's son Brian is flying home for his father's funeral this week, and Bates is inviting the public to Biloxi National Cemetery for the burial. The service will be at 12:30 p.m. Friday at the Committal Shelter at the cemetery.
"We're asking people in the community, even if you didn't know Oscar, to come out, show your support. Maybe there are military veterans or current service members who would like to come show their respect, and just let Brian know the community cared about his dad," said Bates.
Bradford O'Keefe Funeral Home greatly reduced its fees for Oscar Davis, and the Beeabacker website waived its fees for the campaign.
To donate to the Oscar Davis burial fund, click here: http://gulfcoast.beeabacker.com/campaigns/burial-expenses-former-homeless-veteran/.