More than 100 attend 'totally unconnected' veteran's funeral in Helena

Nolan Lister

Many of the 100-plus attendees at Thursday’s funeral for Army Spc. Michael J. Gilmer at the Montana State Veterans Cemetery had never met the veteran. 

Gilmer, 52, died last week in the Fort Harrison Veterans Affairs Medical Center intensive care unit. Hospital staff said Gilmer has family, but they could not be contacted.

“It’s not often someone dies totally unconnected like this,” said hospital chaplain Tim Weidlich, speaking of patients at the local VA hospital.

The remains of Army Spc. Michael J. Gilmer are are laid to rest during a funeral ceremony on Thursday.

THOM BRIDGE, Independent Record

Staff did not know much about Gilmer.

After going through his papers following his death, they discovered he had received the Army Commendation Medal for his part in securing Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom as part of the 506th Regiment Combat Team, an airborne light infantry regiment first established during World War II, and the 4th Infantry Division, based out of Fort Carson, Colorado.

Staff Sgt. Russell Smith of the Montana Army National Guard serves as the outfit’s full-time religious affairs non-commissioned

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