Community rallies around Purple Heart veteran struggling to stay warm

- Marine Corps Sergeant Addison Barber is tough. The 76-year-old American hero fought in Vietnam and was awarded a Purple Heart.

“I took a hit in the side; lost a kidney,” Barber told FOX 46. At the time he had just one thought: “Surviving,” he said.

It’s something he's still doing. Barber, who is partially paralyzed after a stroke, is confined to his home, which hasn't had heat since last June.

“When it hit the teens two days ago my whole body…froze solid," he said. "I've been using the stove in the kitchen and that kept the house warm enough so I don't get really cold.” 

Toy soldiers he once painted line his shelves. It's a reminder of his strength and service, which, perhaps, is why he doesn't complain and doesn't ask for help. 

“Sleeping with good wool blankets. I'll survive," he said. But the community is now rallying behind Barber.

“You did so much for us, so much for this country,” Holly Schmitt, 41, Barber’s former caretaker, said to him.

Schmitt shared his story on Facebook - "he doesn't even know what Facebook is" - and started a GoFundMe page raising more than $2,000.

“I just thought this is crazy," said Schmitt. "There are people out there that need to know that this is a disabled veteran who served our country who is going without."

Within hours someone paid his oil company enough to keep this hero's home heated through winter. 

“Huge help. Probably going to keep me alive,” Barber said after he found out the news. 

“It makes me feel really good," said Schmitt, wiping away tears. "It makes me feel proud of the community that we have."

FOX 46 Charlotte also wanted to help out, and now we're getting results. After seeing his empty fridge we made a call to Publix. The grocery chain agreed to donate a fridge full of food and supplies.

“It means a lot to us and it's what we needed to do to give back," said  he served our country so this is an honor,” said Kimberly Reynolds with Publix, who helped deliver the groceries. 

Giving a little bit back to a man who's already given so much. 

"Thank you," said Barber.

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories you may be interested in -- includes Advertiser Stories