Johnny Bobbitt Jr., 34, served in the United States Marine Corps and later worked as a paramedic in Vance County, North Carolina. According to Time Magazine, he became homeless a few years later following a series of “bad decisions and bad situations.”
He was sitting near an I-95 exit ramp in Philadelphia late one night when he met Kate McClure after her car ran out of gas. Worried for her safety, Bobbitt told McClure to get back in her car and lock the doors. He returned a few minutes later with a can of gasoline purchased with his last $20. McClure later returned to pay him back with cash, food, and water, but somehow that didn’t feel adequate.
“I wish that I could do more for this selfless man, who went out of his way just to help me that day,” McClure wrote on a GoFundMe page she started with the help of her boyfriend Mark. “He is such a great guy, and talking to him each time I see him makes me want to help him more and more.”
Bobbitt’s crowdfunding campaign went viral almost overnight. McClure hoped to raise $10,000 she could put towards an apartment, but she was overwhelmed when the campaign raised more than $400,000 in just 25 days.
McClure and her boyfriend have arranged for the money to go into two trust funds. One will deposit money monthly into a bank account set up for Bobbit, while the other will be set aside as retirement savings.
Before starting the trusts, McClure helped Bobbitt purchase a new home and the truck of his dreams, a 1999 Ford Ranger. Bobbitt says the money is more than he deserves and he’s already begun donating a portion of his new monthly salary to “few organizations and people who over the last couple of years have helped him get through this rough patch in his life.”
Bobbitt is working with a lawyer and a financial planner to help manage his income and get his life back on track.
In a recent update, Bobbitt sent an open message of thanks to his campaign donors. “The feeling is indescribable and it all thanks to the support and generosity that each and every one of you has shown,” he wrote. “I’ll continue to thank you every single day for the rest of my life.”
Bobbitt also included a link to another crowdfunding page raising money to help Jeff johnson, a disabled, homeless Navy veteran who lost his leg while serving on the USS Kitty Hawk in 1991.
Jeff and his family became homeless after they lost their home to a foreclosure. “My goal is to help Veterans who fought for my freedom and keep them from living on the streets,” writes Cole McCafferty, a grade school student who started the crowdfunding campaign for Jeff. “Please help Jeff.”