Extraordinary People

Tear-jerking moment veteran weeps in shock as mortgage is paid off as thank you to his service

Serviceman said: 'My son is severely autistic, this is going to help a lot'

In scenes fit for an Oprah Winfrey episode, an army veteran had the surprise of his life as he was gifted donations to pay off his mortgage in full as a thank you for his service in the forces.

Not only this, but the former serviceman also received funds to pay off an additional loan.

Bill Day, a Navy veteran and single father of four from Albany, New York, broke down in tears when Forrest Gump actor and veteran advocate Gary Sinise announced the news on a video call.

Nearly at a loss for words, Bill managed to say: “What? Me!? No, I don’t deserve that!

“My son is severely autistic and we’re having so many issues, this is going to help a lot.”

The life-changing handout came from a brilliant campaign that ran on Twitter, encouraging members of the public to show their gratitude towards those who serve with a simple tweet on Remembrance Day, or Veterans Day as it is known Stateside, on Wednesday.

While many of us may know the day as marking our respect with a two-minute silence on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the day is observed to remember the end of World War I and all those who fought and died in the line of duty to keep us free.

Social networkers were invited to simply post ‘Thank you for your service’, alongside the #MakeItMeanMore hashtag.

The rest was left to the kind folks at Veterans United, an organisation that helps servicemen become homeowners, who donated $25 towards the campaign’s pot of gold per tweet.

All money raised was then rewarded to deserving former military personnel to pay off their homes.

Alongside Bill, an Atomic Veteran who served in California and was given just a few years to live after being exposed to radiation while serving, also received the incredible gift.

Now, at 83, Hank Bolden is completing his degree in Jazz saxophone.

As he was told the news, his instinct was to laugh but it wasn’t long before he couldn’t hold back the tears either as he said he “couldn’t wait to tell my children”.  

So far, the campaign has raised $2million (£1.8m), with over 71,000 tweets. Check out the posts searching the #MakeItMeanMore hashtag, though just a warning, you may get a little weepy.

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