David Lee, a 76 year old veteran who was collecting disabled veterans donations for other local disabled vets, had nearly $1,000 in donations stolen from right under him in front of a Massachusetts supermarket last week.
The suspect is a homeless white male in his late 20s or early 30s. The man was riding a bicycle, when he approached Lee and asked him, “What’s that?”, while pointing in another direction. When Lee looked where the man was pointing, the suspect proceeded to grab the donation bucket and pedal away on his bike. The man is known by other area homeless people. Police are still investigating.
However, Lee was not at all discouraged or deterred. In fact, this event simply fueled his resolve to help other veterans. He was back outside the supermarket where he was robbed the very next day. Only one thing was different — he tied his donation bucket to the table with rope.
Within just a few hours, things were looking up for Lee, as news of the robbery spread throughout the community. Area residents were eager to show their support for Lee and his cause, and the donations began to pour in. Many residents were placing $5, $10, and $20 bills into Lee’s bucket, while another wrote a $50 check. Hearing of Lee’s plight, a local funeral home donated $1,000.
In total, Lee raised more than $2,500 in disabled veterans donations, which is six times the amount a Disabled American Veterans group member can typically raise in one day in front of the local Brockton Supermarket. The donations were meant for a spinal cord unit as well as a veterans assistance program at the VA Medical Center in Brockton.
This event illustrates the eagerness of Americans to show their support for the military community, especially disabled veterans. Lee was pleased that a negative event was able to be turned into a positive.