ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (WFOX/CNN) - Many people didn't know John Meade Jr. was a veteran when he was alive, but they wanted to honor him properly now that he's gone.
"He was very much appreciated, and we all appreciate the service that he did, not only for everybody else, but for what he stood for," said one of the attendees at his funeral.
"Whoever the vet is doesn't get buried with no family, so we become their family," said another person at the service.
For at least 10 years, Meade Jr. sat on the same bench in St. Augustine every day, a friendly face to people who passed by.
While he talked to everybody, no one knew much about him.
After Meade Jr. died, a police officer in the outreach department spent 80 hours digging for information about Meade after he died. He found out he served in the U.S. Army and wanted him to have a proper burial.
He asked the community to come out to Jacksonville National Cemetery, and they showed up by the dozens.
"In the end, he had a lot of family," said an attendee.
Courtesy WFOX via CNN Newsource