'Another fallen soldier': Tulsa wonders why a homeless vet died the way he did
By Michael Overall
January 26, 2019
Holder spent two nights last week in a downtown homeless shelter, Haltom said. But he didn’t return last Saturday as overnight temperatures sank into the teens. Firefighters recovered his body the next morning outside the Daily Grill restaurant at the Hyatt Regency, where the 39-year-old veteran apparently froze to death on the patio.He hadn’t been around for a while, long enough that people couldn’t remember the last time they had seen him. Several weeks, at least. Maybe months.
Then Zaki Holder showed up again last week, coming off the streets to get warm inside the Day Center for the Homeless in the northwest corner of downtown Tulsa.
The staff wondered where he had been but didn’t pry. Chronic homelessness doesn’t hit people in one long burst. It comes and goes and comes again.
Nobody was surprised to see Holder again.
“He was a familiar face,” said Mack Haltom, the Day Center’s associate director. “He was quiet. Stayed to himself. Never caused a problem.”
It was the second memorial service of the day for the Patriot Guard, Smith said. The first had been for a veteran who “joined the 22-a-Day Club” by committing suicide, he said. And as far as the Patriot Guard members were concerned, Holder was “another fallen soldier,” too, Smith said.
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