Community comes together to honor homeless vet with military funeral

Published: Sep. 7, 2019 at 8:22 PM CDT
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A local homeless veteran received full military honors Saturday as he was laid to rest in Bryan.

Al Sims, a Vietnam veteran, died at 76 in downtown Bryan.

The day started at the Hillier funeral home with a viewing and celebration of life. The Patriots Guard Riders escorted Sims to his final resting place in the Bryan City Cemetery.

"This is a man who's life mattered. This is a man whose sacrifices meant a great deal, and this gives us an opportunity to remind the community about what these sacrifices entail," said Patriots Guard Rider Randal Allison.

The Pentagon also ordered a flyover to honor Sim's service in the military.

Sim's sister, Wilma Lawler, says she was amazed to see the turnout for her brothers funeral.

"I couldn't control myself I was really impressed how this small town rallied around my brother," Lawler said.

Her brother chose to live on the streets for 30 years after moving back to Bryan, where he soon became well known for his compassion. He had a phobia of being indoors and chose to live on the streets, his family said.

"Here he had absolutely nothing and he impacted so many people with his life. And we have what people call everything, and what are we doing?" said Lawler.

Lawler says she hopes her brothers legacy lives on through the people he impacted in his life.