Like many retired military veterans, Willy Boyd of Oklahoma lives on a fixed budget.
The Air Force veteran lives in a modest apartment by himself, carefully setting aside his rent money at the beginning of each month before buying anything else. When Willy started having trouble getting to the bank, the office manager of his apartment complex offered to withdraw his rent money from the ATM across the street and pay his rent for him.
What Willy didn’t realize was that the manager was stealing his money, only paying half of what he owed before pocketing the rest for herself. Eventually, she quit her job and moved away. Months later, he was shocked when he received a bill from the new apartment manager letting him know he owed more than $2,200 in back rent and fees.
Willy was broken-hearted over the betrayal, and totally at a loss as to how he could ever come up with that amount of cash. His daughter-in-law Rogeena Johnson-Hames stepped in to try to help him sort it out, going to local news station KFOR-TV to get his story out. “It just broke my heart to see that happen,” said Rogeena.
The TV station ran a story about how Willy, whose only fault was being too trusting of someone he thought was a friend, could now lose his home and independence. The new manager at his apartment complex heard about the problem and agreed to work something out, and soon another group of strangers stepped in to lend a hand as well.
Veterans Corner, a nonprofit organization that helps military members, went to the News 4 station one afternoon and asked if they could help. The group then went straight to Willy’s apartment complex where they paid the entire overdue amount in full.
“On behalf of Veterans Corner, and all the volunteers there, board members, Willie, for your service in the military we want to present you with this check for the amount that’s needed to catch up on rent,” said Alfred Hollis, Veterans Corner Chairman. Jerry Baxter, Veterans Corner treasurer, was near tears as he handed over the check.
“This story here hit me in the heart. This is what we’re here for,” agreed Veterans Corner volunteer Art Sipes.
Willy and his family were overwhelmed by the unexpected gift of compassion. Wiping away “tears of joy,” Willy thanked the people who came to his rescue. “I know people are compassionate, but I never thought it would come to me like that. That’s why God is good,” he said.
The family plans to press charges against the woman who stole from Willy, but more importantly, his faith in humanity was restored by a group of people who stepped in to help.
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