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Elderly man pushing carts and an elderly man wearing a cap and glasses.

Strangers Raise $222K So Elderly Veteran Can Retire at 90

GoFundMe/ Karen Swensen Ronquillo and X/ @CBSMornings
Uplifting News

90-Year-Old Pushes Carts To Afford Food - So a Stranger Takes Matters Into Her Own Hand

Former news anchor, Karen Swensen, launched a GoFundMe campaign to help the struggling man.

Most people dream of spending their golden years happily retired. But for a lot of people over the age of 65, this, unfortunately, isn't their reality.

The cost of living has skyrocketed over the past few years, and it's becoming increasingly difficult to sock away enough savings for retirement, let alone sustain a comfortable lifestyle on a fixed income.

Instead of enjoying the fruits of their many years of labor, people like Dillon McCormick are forced to continue working long after they should have to.

But now, thanks to a chance encounter, this Air Force veteran is finally getting his due.

90-Year-Old Air Force Veteran Pushes Carts Hours a Day

U.S. Air Force veteran, Dillon McCormick, turned 90 in November. But while most people his age are chilling in their Lazy Boys or on the links pushing golf clubs, he's walking a mile to work and pushing carts in record-breaking heat just so he can put food on the table.

Former news anchor, Karen Swensen, first met McCormick on Memorial Day in the parking lot of Winn Dixie in Metairie, Louisiana. On a day meant to honor those who have served and sacrificed, the veteran was hard at work.

Shocked to see someone his age stacking cart after cart "sometimes more than twenty at a time" under the blazing sun, she decided to find out his story.

Swensen shared a video of their interaction on her YouTube page. While they chatted, he never stopped working.

McCormick told Swensen he was stationed in multiple places throughout his military career, including Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, and Greenland.

He needs $2500 a month to survive. Social Security only pays $1100. So, he works.

"He pushes carts for HOURS. I met regular shoppers who say they see him doing this "all the time." Some, like a 73-year-old man with a limp, get out to help him. Many do double takes."

Karen Swensen via GoFundMe

Swensen learned that McCormick's mother lived to be 104. His grandmother was an "Irish immigrant who came over to America in the late 1800s as an indentured servant after slavery was abolished."

Hard work is in his bones. But that doesn't mean he should HAVE to work to live.

Swensen couldn't just walk away. Profoundly upset by his circumstances, she decided to do something to help McCormick. So, she started a GoFundMe campaign in the hopes of raising $35,000 — enough to cover McCormick's needs for a little over a year.

GoFundMe Campaign Takes Off

GoFundMe page for elderly man.

90-year-old U.S. Air Force Veteran Dillon McCormick pushes carts at Winn Dixie's to make ends meet.

GoFundMe/Karen Swensen Ronquillo

"Today, Memorial Day, in 90-degree heat (with a heat index of 103(!) thanks to the humidity), I watched a 90-year-old UNITED STATES AIR FORCE VETERAN collect and push shopping carts at a Metairie, Louisiana grocery store," Swensen wrote on the GoFundMe.

She described McCormick as having the "kindest smile and greatest attitude." She also shared how grateful he is for his job and that "his work ethic speaks for itself."

"He is a veteran of the United States Military. It's Memorial Day. It's hot. Mr. McCormick was born in 1933, making him a part of the Silent Generation. Please, America, let us be his voice. We can do this."

The troops rallied. The campaign instantly TOOK OFF. Less than 24 hours later, it was sitting at a staggering $222,545 — shattering the original goal.

Now, thanks to the outpouring of support and kindness from more than 4,000 strangers, McCormick can finally enjoy his hard-earned retirement.

Swensen has disabled new donations for the fundraiser and is currently working on transferring the funds.

"Together, we raised more than $220,000 in 24 hours, enough for him to retire!! No longer will the 90-year-old veteran have to push shopping cars in triple digit heat to put food on his table," she wrote in an update.

She added, "He won't have to walk to work (should he choose to remain); he can Uber instead, or buy a car. He will live out his days in comfort and security."

As for McCormick? He's stunned. And extremely grateful.

"Thank them very, very, very much," he told CBS affiliate, WWL-TV. "And I wish them the best of luck in the world."

The Power of One Person to Make a Difference

With limited savings and rising expenses, the dream of a peaceful retirement remains out of reach for many seniors.

But thanks to a stranger's kindness and willingness to do something when she saw an injustice, Dillon McCormick is no longer one of them.

"At my age, it's probably a miracle."

Dillon McCormick

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