Unclaimed: Police And Vietnam Vet No Longer Forgotten
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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.