A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps has shown exactly what it means to be a part of the unshakeable brotherhood of the United States military.
Guido Filippone, a Marine who served between 2004 and 2008, was leaving a VA appointment on May 16 when he noticed an elderly man who was wearing a World War II baseball cap with the word “Veteran.”
“I immediately approached him and thanked him for his service,” Filippone said, as reported by Fox News.
The Marine realized that the elderly man was walking across the parking lot on what was a scorching hot day. So, he offered to escort him to his vehicle.
“We got to talking and he told me he was drafted into the Army and he was stationed in Germany as the war was ending,” Filippone said.
In their brief conversation, he learned that the World War II vet, Mike Gazella, had medical bills stacking up for over a year due to several recent operations. While Medicare had covered most of the cost, Gazella was hoping that VA could pay the remaining balance of $4,000.
“If I had a checkbook, I would have given the money to him right there,” Filippone said. “I wouldn’t want a World War II vet to move on to the next phase of life in debt.”
But Gazella refused any financial assistance from Filippone.
“I offered to help but he refused and understandably so — he just met me 5 minutes ago,” the Marine explained.
As an alternative Filippone turned to GoFundMe.
“… those of you who know me personally, know how far I’m willing to go for our veterans,” Filippone explains on the page’s description. “So, I’ve decided to set this up and because I put my money where my mouth is, I’ve donated the first $1000.”
The campaign has since generated over $15,000.
“Still trying to wrap my head around on what has transpired in the last 12 hours,”Filippone posted in his latest update to the page. “I cannot thank all of you enough for the overwhelming support that everyone has showed for this man. It’s a truly humbling experience to see what our society is capable of. Thank you!”
“Thank You for your service.. It’s very important for all of us to try and help our veterans no matter how old,” one person commented on the campaign page.
“So incredibly proud of this young man. What an amazingly generous thing for him to do. Thank you both for your service and your generosity,” another added.
Now, this Marine has one last mission to complete — he needs to track down this dear old veteran!
“I have to track this guy down,” he explained. “I know he goes to Starbucks every day in Leander [Texas] —there’s only two Starbucks in Leander. I’m going to go to both, ask around and give him a check.”
Filippone is hoping that his fundraising campaign will inspire others to do the right thing, and to help out their fellow American heroes.
“I could have easily just walked away and moved on. It’s nice to give back when you can,” he told Fox. “I always say we already have the Greatest Generation—we should be the better generation. Never miss a chance to thank a veteran.”
You can donate here.