Acts of Kindness

Veteran Threw Yard Sale To Raise Money For Own Funeral

October 4th, 2018

Willie Davis of Johnstown, Pennsylvania served the United States Army beginning in 1971. In 1976, he transferred to the United States Navy.

When he found out he had terminal stage-4 cancer, he started to plan his own funeral.

The United States military would have paid for his funeral but he would have just gotten a plaque. Davis, 66, wants to be buried next to his parents in Culpeper, Virginia.

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David Dunkleberger Source: David Dunkleberger

So, he decided to sell all of his belongings at a yard sale to raise money for the funeral he wanted.

David Dunkleberger and Ed Sheets, both 27, stopped by to check it out.

They probably spent about $10 between the both of them. They purchased a carton of glass bottles, some old newspapers from the summer of 1977 when the town had catastrophic rains, and a railroad stock certificate.

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David Dunkleberger Source: David Dunkleberger

They also stopped to chitchat with Davis. That’s when they learned that he was raising money for a funeral.

“I said, ‘Whose funeral?’ And he said, ‘Mine,’” Dunkleberger told New York Times. “I can only imagine my face when he said that to me.”

Davis further explained that he wanted to get rid of some of his possessions and that he needed to raise thousands of dollars for the funeral.
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Willie Davis Source: Willie Davis
“To me it was such a heartbreaking story,” Sheets said. “And the fact that he didn’t want to be a burden to anybody else — I just found that incredible.”

The guys decided to set up a fund-raising account for Davis and his funeral.

They managed to raise $475 through friends and family. But then a local news outlet picked up the story. That’s when donations started to pour in.
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The story was covered on a Monday and they raised more than $62,000 by the following Wednesday.

“It’s amazing,” Sheets told NBC News. “We went to the yard sale and we didn’t have any intentions. We thought we were just buying a couple items and it turned into something so much more incredible.”
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Davis said the two men have been a major blessing to him. He’s been struggling to find owners for his three dogs and making sure that his sister doesn’t get stuck with funeral costs.
“I was trying to do it all on my own,” he said. “Then two wonderful people came through and decided they were going to help me.”
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He’s also been frustrated with the way veterans, who lay their life down for the U.S., have to deal with the veterans health care system.

So, he’s going to leave any leftover money in a fund to help other veterans in need.

“It’s not going to cost that much,” he said. “There’s going to be money left over, so I want people to understand that it’s not going to be spent on personal things for me. It’s going to help veterans that are in similar situations. What we have to do is figure out how to do this. I want it to be continuous. We have the money to pay for one, two, three funerals, but why stop there.”
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Go Fund Me Source: Go Fund Me
Davis said that attempting to start this foundation has helped him deal with his terminal diagnosis.

“I’m dying,” he said. “So I was seeking something that would give me more purpose.”

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Source: WTAJ