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Kate McClure and Mark D'Amico couldn't forget about the homeless veteran who gave away his last $20 dollars to make sure a stranger made it home safely without asking for anything in return.
In the weeks since, she’s returned to the spot along I-95 where Johnny stays with cash, snacks and Wawa gift cards. Each time she’s stopped by with her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, they’ve learned a bit more about Johnny’s story, and become humbled by his gratitude.
Eventually, the Florence Township couple knew they had to do something more.
“I would say, ‘I keep thinking about that guy,’” D’Amico said. And McClure was thinking about Johnny, too.
McClure and D'Amico were determined to not just be another couple with good intentions and no actions.
So they launched a GoFundMe campaign, putting an ambitious $10,000 goal and hoping to rein in a few hundred dollars to book Johnny a motel for a few nights where he could clean up, and start to get back on his feet.
As of Thursday, November 23, 2017, the campaign had garnered more than $250,000 in donations, up from $34,000 on Wednesday when this story was originally published.
“It just blew up,” McClure said earlier this week, noting that donors have come forward with $5, $10 or even several hundred after she’s shared the GoFundMe to various Facebook groups.
You see Jonny wasn't just any old average Joe, he'd also served his country with pride and dignity before falling on some hard times.
Johnny, who’s 34, told McClure and D’Amico he has been homeless for about a year. He said he was previously a certified paramedic, and also served in the Marine Corps.
After moving around the country for a time, he came to Philadelphia a year ago with a job lined up and some money to buy a truck. But soon after the job fell through, leaving Johnny surviving off meager savings.
Later, he lost his paperwork, rendering him unable to work. One night on the streets turned into a week, and ultimately a year of homelessness.
Learning his story, and sifting through his old Facebook photos, McClure and D’Amico said they were shocked to see how quickly Johnny’s life had changed from that of a working man who vacationed on the beach to one living off the streets of Philadelphia.
“It’s crazy, you can relate to that,” McClure said. “You look through and think, ‘that could be me.’”
McClure and D'Amico feel called to help pay it forward and help Johnny get back on his feet. And before you even start to go down the dark rabbit trail of cynicism, both McClure and D'Amico have been incredibly transparent and vocal about making sure the money only goes to helping Johnny lay down some roots.
Last week, they surprised Johnny with the campaign, telling him they had already raised $1,700 and planned to keep going.
“That changes my life, right there,” Johnny said of the $1,700, captured in a video McClure took. “I’ve honestly met more good people than bad,” he said of his time in Philadelphia.
The couple understands how their help in reaching out to landlords and vouching for Johnny’s character will help him overcome some of those hurdles.
“If we just handed him the money, it’s not going to happen,” McClure said.
The video and the Go Fund Me page have since gone viral in an epic demonstration of human kindness and the power of never forgetting to treat those that helped you with the same generosity.
Continue to the next page to view the after-Thanksgiving interview with Kate McClure and Johnny Bobbitt:
Johnny's response to being told how much money has since been raised since the video above was recorded is jaw-dropping and inspiring!