Tremendous Response to Dying Veteran's Last Wish

A military veteran in Corpus Christi -- a hero who was badly injured in Vietnam more than four decades ago, has had trouble getting his final wish: a full-military funeral.

Since reporting his story in our Sunday evening broadcast, there has been a tremendous response from individuals in the military community -- many who hope somebody will step up to help in the situation. Because of that response, that is exactly what happened.

Jimmy Spencer, 63, was wounded on Thanksgiving Day in 1970 as his helicopter came under heavy fire in Vietnam. His wounds left him a quadriplegic, living under the constant care of his mother and father in Corpus Christi for the past four decades.

Spencer's father passed away last summer, and now Spencer himself is hospitalized in San Antonio and is not expected to survive. His final wish is to have six active-duty military be his pall bearers, and a full color guard at his funeral.

After his story was aired Sunday night, individuals began to respond, and Spencer's brother, Steven, said he could not be happier.

"Well, you wouldn't believe it. It started off at six this morning, and my phone hasn't quit ringing since then," Steven said. "I've had calls from a commander in Washington D.C.; a captain at Fort Bragg, North Carolina; a lieutenant in Fort Carson, Colorado; phone calls from Fort Hood, Fort Sam Houston, all the local VFWs, all the American Legions."

Steven said he hopes to have everything in place when the time comes.

"It's amazing. Being in the military myself, it makes you feel good," Steven said. "A lot of time, our government has budget cuts and all, but the people down in the ranks, you know -- and we've had captains, lieutenants, lots of first sergeants, even down to they just joined the military -- they want to come."

Jimmy Spencer beat the seven years his doctors originally gave him to live after he was wounded, and went on to become an inspiration to other wounded vets, mainly through his love of hunting and fishing, which he accomplished by his family mounting rifles and fishing poles to his wheelchair.

Steven Spencer said that, at first, his brother wanted to be buried in Arlington, but now he wants to be buried next to his father at Seaside Memorial Park.


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