WINK News viewer donates life-changing gift to veteran

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- A Sanibel woman reached out to WINK News, asking for help. She had a brand new mobility scooter, and wanted to find a veteran to donate to. WINK News was able to deliver this Christmas!

A new mobility scooter is the greatest Christmas gift Air Force veteran Catherine Blankert could have asked for.

“It’s wonderful to be able to get around. The speed is unbelievable, it’s easy to turn. It’s fantastic,” said Blankert.

But the scooter’s journey to Catherine was a long one.

Barbara Kaiser is from Sanibel. Her husband, Kevin, passed away on July 3rd. Kaiser wanted to honor his memory by donating his practically brand new scooter, to a veteran.

“I think they are no longer in the forefront. Just don’t want them to be forgotten,” said Kaiser.

But finding a recipient was harder than she expected. Kaiser called the VA, and local American Legion, but she said, “They didn’t seem interested, or people that were interested couldn’t find anyone.”

Kaiser had almost given up, until she saw Charles Walsh.

Walsh is a Charlotte County veteran we interviewed back in November, after the VA lost his paperwork during a disability claim. Kaiser noticed Walsh couldn’t walk well, and thought she had her guy. She emailed WINK News and we passed along the offer, but Walsh said there were others worse off than him.

Then came Don Payton. WINK News met Payton after doing a story on Hearts and Homes for Veterans Incorporated, an organization that works to keep veterans off the streets. When asked if he could help, Payton said he had the perfect veteran in mind.

“It makes me happy just to give it to her,” said Kaiser.

Now the scooter has a new home with Catherine Blankert, who couldn’t contain her excitement, when she said, “Oh my goodness, it’s beautiful. Look at that, you are so good to me.”

Blankert lost her leg as result of diabetes, and was sleeping on her floor when Don Payton met her a year ago. The scooter she did own would die every few feet, making it difficult to get around. Thanks to one generous resident’s persistence, that won’t be the case anymore.

One Response

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  1. Bernard Lurye
    Dec 25, 2014 - 08:51 PM

    Everyday is a rescue day at Hearts & Homes for Veterans. Those stories of rescue are endless.

    Its a never ending search to help the “Homeless Veterans” and get them off the street.

    Hearts and Homes for Veterans brings hope and a new life to those who served our country with honor and a commitment to protect our freedom.

    There are still too many veterans out there seeking an opportunity to be freed from hopelessness and are awaiting our help.


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