Unclaimed: Police And Vietnam Vet No Longer Forgotten

CHICAGO (WBBM) – Chicago Police are burying one of their own Tuesday: a 62-year-old retired officer and Vietnam veteran who died alone – and ended up unclaimed at the medical examiner’s office.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Steve Miller Reports in this continuation of his “Unclaimed” series.

His name was Bruce Cummings, and he was a Chicago Police Officer. He lived in a North Side nursing home and apparently had no visitors. Not even from whatever family he had.

Chicago Police Chaplain Tom Nangle says officers found out Cummings died alone earlier this month and was unclaimed at the morgue.

Then Chicago Police Captain Thomas Lemmer of the 23rd District got involved.

“To think that a person, after 29 years at the Chicago Police Department, a tour of duty in Vietnam, could end up in an unmarked grave was not an acceptable response. That’s not an appropriate ending. And clearly he deserved more than that.”

Cummings was a Marine in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Purple Heart.

“An example of the type of person that you’re going to want to remember. A person that’s willing to do quietly those things that were his responsibility to do without a lot of fanfare, without a lot of accolade. And when they’re done with their service, that’s something that should not be forgotten.”

On Tuesday, Captain Lemmer and other officers who never met Officer Bruce Cummings, will be at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, where Cummings is being buried with full military honors.

More from Steve Miller
  • Friar Tuck, PMC

    Thank you for your service to our country and our city, Mr. Cummings.
    Semper Fi, bro.

  • Catherine

    Day is done, gone the sun
    From the lakes, from the hills, from the skies
    All is well, safely rest;
    God is nigh.

  • Mike

    RIP my brother. May St. Michael look after you.

  • maria

    When something like this happen it makes me wish that I had the opportunity to meet the person and be ale to give him some comfort before the final days.God bless him he is in peace now.

  • renee lee greco

    Thank you for this story and a huge appreciation to my Soldier’s Angels who scrambled last minute to give this Marine a proper farewell. Semper Fi, Your tour of duty is done.

  • Glock 22 RTF 2

    Thanks Capt. Lemmer for giving a damn. And thanks to the funeral home, the cops and others who showed up on behalf of all of us. Giving a damn is something else that is also becoming forgotten now a days. Thanks again to all of you.

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