Memorial service held for homeless Cleburne veteran

By JESSICA POUNDS | Cleburne Times-Review, Texas | Published: February 3, 2018

CLEBURNE, Texas (Tribune News Service) — Although a Cleburne man was homeless, he was not alone while taking his final breaths of life.

Rodger Wilson – a U.S. Army veteran – passed away on Friday, surrounded by members of Helping Cleburne Homeless while at the Community Hospice of Texas Hospice House in Burleson.

He had been homeless for 17 years, carrying around nothing more than the shirt on his back.

When he was placed in hospice care, the group asked Phil Garcia of the Cleburne VFW to come pray over him.

"When I walked into the room he was just laying there, but I felt tension in the room for some reason," he said. "I began to pray with him and for some reason I know in my heart that he was listening to me. We sat there and we prayed, and all of a sudden I felt a comfort in the room. Like he was happy, now, that we prayed."

Garcia said he sat next to Wilson and prayed over him again.

"This time I got chills," he said. "I thought, 'Man, this is the spirit in this room. This is the spirit that is going to touch this man.' I knew it would be God's will to heal him completely or bring him home."

Terry Hodges, chaplain for Helping Cleburne Homeless, said Wilson passed away at 11:38 p.m.

"At the same time that he passed and the nurses came in, the lady next door came in and she came over and talked to Brenda [Bransom of Helping Cleburne Homeless] because her mother had just passed," he said. "She told Brenda that she was very thankful because she felt like at least her mother had a military man to escort her to her father.

"That's powerful. Thinking of Rodger as a serviceman, I can just see him in his dress bluesv, holding his arm out saying, 'I'm here to escort you to your father,' and then walking her into paradise. He would be an honorable person enough to do that."

After Wilson passed, the group also give him a memorial service at Broken Pieces Ministry on Tuesday to give him the proper send off.

Mark Bransom of Joshua said even though Wilson was homeless, he was a giver.

He recalled a time when Wilson bought him golf balls for his birthday.

"This is a man who should have been worrying about his next meal or the weather or where he would be sleeping at night," he said. "But I got the best birthday gift I could've ever got from a man who basically had nothing."


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