Willie Davis, a terminally ill Navy veteran, had been selling his belongings at garage sales on weekends for months to pay for his funeral expenses. But a chance encounter with two strangers helped turn things around.
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (Tribune News Service) — Willie Davis, a terminally ill Navy veteran, had been selling his belongings at garage sales on weekends for months to pay for his funeral expenses.
The 66-year-old had made a few hundred dollars and had people helping him research ways to be buried at a bargain. But thanks to a chance encounter in August with two strangers, that won’t be necessary anymore.
David Dunkleberger and Ed Sheets met him at one of the yard sales and set up a GoFundMe account that has raised more than $61,000 from donors across the country. Based on GoFundMe’s policies, Davis will be directly responsible for withdrawing the funds at the conclusion of the campaign. The crowdfunding site GoFundMe collects 5 percent of every donation made, plus a 3 percent processing fee.
“We’re thrilled — we can’t believe the number of people who’ve donated and offered messages of support for Willie,” said Dunkleberger. “It’s not a question of whether we can grant him his final wish anymore.
Davis wants to be laid to rest next to his parents in Culpeper, Va. — some 200 miles away — and will need to be transported there once he passes. He was worried his burial costs might end up being his sisters’ burden. Instead, one of them, Ruby Davis of Maryland, is working to organize arrangements in both Johnstown and Culpeper, Dunkleberger added.
As donations roll in, Dunkleberger said Davis may now be in position to help others.
“There might be a lot more Willie’s in a similar situation — fellow veterans who’ve fallen on hard times,” Dunkleberger said.
Efforts are underway to set up a legacy fund in Davis’ name to dedicate leftover donations to terminally ill veterans in need, he said.
“Let’s help the next guy and keep this thing rolling, ” Dunkleberger said.
Source: A Navy veteran was having yard sales to pay for his funeral. Strangers reached out to help him. – News – Stripes