HERNANDO, MS -- An anonymous donor is making the holidays brighter for Mid-South veterans struggling to get by. A Mississippi man set up a relief fund for vets in need. The money he's donated is saving the lives of those who've saved ours.
"We have a wonderful man here in Hernando who just wanted to help out veterans," says Tom Pittman, director of the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi. "He doesn't want any credit, doesn't want anyone to know who's doing it."
He gave a $2,000 donation. That money went to a local veteran who needed it right away.
"The $2,000 enabled him to keep his house, keep his car insurance and enabled him to feed his family," Pittman says. "He's a good, productive, honest citizen who served his country well and through no fault of his own got laid off."
Pittman knows of other veterans in the same situation.
"One young man's been deployed to Iraq two times now and is in the army reserves. He got laid off from his fulltime job. He's got a two year old and is expecting another baby in January. He's at his wit's end."
Pittmans says the vets are trying to find work. They need help getting through the in-between times. "This young veteran worked at Hostess. Hostess closed its operation so he has no job. Hopefully he'll find another job soon, but until that time, with a baby on the way he could use help to keep his house and keep his life in order."
Hernando's anonymous donor has pledged more help.
That's where Pittman says the public comes in. The donor is willing to give more, if the public joins him.
"Now he's matching $5,000. He'll match the next $5,000 anyone may want to contribute," Pittman tells abc24.com.
Steve Howell is the veteran's services officer for DeSoto County. He sees the need firsthand and says many vets don't want to ask for help, but they could use the money.
"I've run into about four or five that are in real bad shape. Those that are losing homes, that kind of stuff," he says. "A lot of the Vietnam veterans are having that problem right now because they're older and retiring. They thought they were going to be alright and they're not."
If you'd like to donate, contact the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi at www.CFNM.org or 662.449.5002. With enough support, they'd like to make the fund available year round.