ROCKFORD, Mich. — A Vietnam veteran got a big surprise over the weekend.
George Thomas was looking for a quote on some electrical work on a Rockford Facebook group when he got a response he never saw coming.
“The power goes out in Rockford quite a few times, 6-7 times a year," Thomas said.
For most people, an outage is an inconvenience. But for Thomas, it’s a matter of survival.
He was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2009 but had a feeding tube inserted into his stomach about a month ago.
“I realized if I’m in the back room laying down and the power goes out, I can't get around like I used to,” he said. “I gotta run this feeding tube for 12 hours a day."
Thomas has a generator, but it doesn’t work where he really needs it, so he turned to Facebook and another veteran, Matt Schneider, answered his call.
“It was like 3:30 in the morning and I saw someone ask for an electrician," Schneider said.
He started “M. Schneider Electric LLC” four years ago after returning home from Afghanistan.
“It wasn’t a matter of what I could do to help, or if I could help, it was definitely a no-brainer,” Schneider said.
With the hard part already out of the way, Schneider went through Thomas’ entire house making sure he not only has power but is safe too.
“I am totally in shock, overjoyed," Thomas said. “I wanna hug this young man."
Schneider donates often to local veterans, but says he has a special soft spot for those who served in Vietnam.
“War is a very ugly thing, so I can’t even imagine coming back without the support system that I had. It's such a small task and to have other people go 'oh we're too busy, we can't do it' to me that's just unacceptable,” Schneider said.
Another veteran, Doug Campbell, felt the same way after seeing Thomas’ post.
Not knowing how much the generator project would cost, Campbell started a GoFundMe page to help cover the electrician job. Since Schneider donated his time and parts though, Campbell was able was to give Thomas a check for $2,000.
These three, once strangers, are now brought closer together by their service and a simple request for help.
“It’s the little things that can mean so much to people,” Schneider said.
With winter coming quickly, Thomas said it’s like a big weight has been lifted off his shoulders and he’s overwhelmed with the amount of support he’s received.
“We’re brothers and sisters. We love each other and take care of each other. Veterans help Veterans,” he said.