After being diagnosed with terminal cancer and given only three weeks to live, a beloved Marine had one last wish: to be buried in uniform, along with a Marine Corps flag.
Donnie Loneman had loved being a Marine, according to CNN affiliate KOCO in Oklahoma City. But the veteran, who was homeless for the past decade, did not own a dress uniform. He also could not afford to buy one.
As Loneman explained to Tulsa station KOTV at an event for homeless veterans last October, he had given everything up in order to care for his mother in her final days.
At the time of the event, he said he was spending cold nights on freeway overpasses and under trees.
Loneman passed away Thursday night, according to KOCO.
“He was interested in who was going to be left behind,” said Christine Cleary with the Oklahoma City Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center.
Cleary, who was constantly by Loneman’s bedside before he died, told the TV station that the veteran had a “good heart” and a “great sense of humor.”
“Donnie was his own person. He did what he wanted, and a lot of people fell in love with him for that,” she told KOCO, adding, “We get guys like him once in a blue moon, who really make a difference for everyone here.”
After hearing his story, the Oklahoma City VA and several veteran’s organizations came together to honor Loneman’s dying wish, providing the dress uniform and flag that he had requested, the station reported.
Additionally, the organizations would also cover his funeral cost and give him an honor guard.
“He said, ‘I’m going to enter the gates, and I’m going to tell all the Marines that are standing there that they’re relieved of their duty, and I’m going to take their place, and I’ll stand there until my arm gets tired, and another Marine comes,'” Cleary told the station. “He said ‘I’m ready to go.'”
CNN contributed to this story.