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Local News

Vet who lived under I-80 bridge to get honors burial

Pallbearers carry the casket carrying U.S. Navy Seaman Apprentice Quinn Fitzgerald, a homeless veteran, during a ceremony in February 2015 at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood.
Pallbearers carry the casket carrying U.S. Navy Seaman Apprentice Quinn Fitzgerald, a homeless veteran, during a ceremony in February 2015 at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood.

An honors burial will be held Friday for a veteran who spent many years living under an Interstate 80 bridge in Joliet.

The services for George Charles Babcock will be at 2:30 p.m. at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood.

Babcock served in the U.S. Army from April 1963 to May 1965.

He grew up in Joliet and returned home after his service, said Jack Picciolo, a Lockport veteran who helps organize burial services for homeless veterans. Babcock lost his home and had lived under an I-80 bridge for eight years, Picciolo said.

Babcock had been getting help from Picciolo, Veterans Affairs and the Will County Veterans Assistance Commission in recent years.

“I’ve worked with him the last four or five years,” Picciolo said. “I’ve given him shirts and shoes. We worked with the Veterans Assistance Commission to get him into hotels.”

Babcock spent the last year at The Parc at Joliet, a nursing home, Picciolo said.

“I think at one time his mother had a house on McDonough Street,” he said. Babcock lived there but lost the house sometime after his mother’s death, Picciolo said.

The services will be at one of the shelters at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery.

The public is invited to attend the services. It is not believed that Babcock has any family that will be at the service.

Veterans provide military honors at the cemetery for veterans who die without family to bury them.

The burial for Babcock is one of several that Dignity Memorial funeral homes has conducted this year for homeless veterans who have died with no family members to arrange their services.

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