(Update: Adding video, details, interviews)
Sending motor home, food and clothes so he can live comfortably this winter
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Central Oregonians have always rallied to help others in the community, especially during a year in which many of us needed it most. Now, several local residents have taken it upon themselves to help someone they've never met: a Vietnam veteran who currently lives on the Oregon coast.
Jerald Green is no stranger to a struggle. He’s a 74-year-old Marine who served in Vietnam. However, Green’s current living situation in Winchester Bay presents him with new challenges.
"Well, it's not the best,” Green told NewsChannel 21 Wednesday. “I'm living in a little 23-foot 1982 Jamboree. All the appliances have failed."
The 44-year former Bend resident considers himself homeless, and now his only place for shelter, an RV, is falling apart.
Laura Jones, who lives in Bend and has a history of helping veterans, caught wind of Green's setup on social media and stepped in to help.
"He's been neglected and tossed to the side, living in a rundown motor home with no power, no way to cook, nothing,” Jones said. “It should break everybody's heart."
On Monday, Jones started a GoFundMe page to raise money for a working motor home. Central Oregon rose to the challenge.
In less than 24 hours, the community raised close to $3,000.
Jo and Wayne Worley, Bend residents for 22 years, own the motor home that will be given to Green. After 15 years of fond memories in their Winnebago Southwind, they feel Green needs it more than they do.
"I don't feel that we do enough for our veterans,” Jo Worley told NewsChannel 21. “As much as we can do, we should do -- all of us.”
She said they've left several appliances and tools inside for Green to use, such as plates, knives and cups. She even put flannel sheets and a heavy quilt on the bed, to make sure Green can stay warm.
Worley also noted this could not be happening at a better time.
"I'm so glad he's getting this before Christmas," she said.
Meanwhile, Heart’s of Prineville, a volunteer organization in Crook County, is collecting food and blankets to put into the motor home.
Early next week, a Bend Marine will load it onto a flatbed and take it to Green.
All of these people are putting together a collective effort for a man they've never met, or even spoken to.
Green, who said he's a man of few words, did not hold back when sharing what this means to him.
"What they've done for me is above and beyond anything I’ve ever thought about or hoped for in my life,” he said. “They have -- or will be -- turning my world around, where I wouldn't be in this mess as I have been for the past eight years."
Green also hopes his story can inspire other veterans to seek help, like he has, through Veterans of Foreign Wars -- and most importantly, to never give up.
If you would like to make a contribution by donating non-perishable foods or blankets, you can email Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.