Not aloneBy KAREN FIORETTI,
Ike Wiggins arrived at the Mississippi State Veterans Home in Kosciusko in 2008 and remained there until his death on May 12, 2020.
Wiggins was transferred to the home from the Veterans Administration Medical Center after staff treating him there learned he had been suffering from homelessness, living in an abandoned van.
Upon his arrival in Kosciusko, a promise was made to Wiggins that he would always have a home, and the staff would ensure he was cared for. During the next 12 years, the staff and residents at the home were Wiggins' only family. He had no wife, children, siblings or friends.
Wiggins, who died at age 86, was laid to rest at the Mississippi Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Kilmichael on May 19, 2020, surrounded by the staff members who had cared for him.
“He was always very quiet and very private, but very polite,” said Piccolar Johnson, assistant administrator of the facility, and “he loved hot dogs.”
Wiggins was a U.S. Marine Private during the Korean War, serving from March 21, 1952, until November 23, 1954. He earned the National Defense Service Medal and the Navy Occupation Service Medal during his service.
A member of the Combat Veterans Association pays final respects to U.S. Marine Ike Wiggins, Jr., who passed away May 12, 2020, at the Mississippi Veterans Memorial Home in Kosciusko.
Members of the staff of the Mississippi State Veterans Home in Kosciusko — the only family U.S. Marine Ike Wiggins had — accompanied his remains as he was laid to rest at the Mississippi Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Kilmichael.