Elmira/Corning Regional Airport

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Giving Back for the Holiday

Written By: Tanja Rekhi
Giving Back for the Holidays

ELMIRA (WENY) --    A kitchen table, detergent, paper towels: Items many of us take for granted. They're just some of the things Casa de Karate at Diamond Gym collected for a local veteran in need this holiday season.
     "He's hopefully going to be shocked, he has no idea we're coming. We're just going to be showing up with gifts," said Kent Goben of Casa de Karate and the Chemung County Office of the Aging.
     Kent Goben and some holiday helpers worked with the Chemung County office of the Aging to surprise a veteran going through a rough time. They asked we keep his name anonymous.
     "We've got people dropping things off that I never even met," said Goben. "They brought all kind of things. They're just there to help him."
     Mary Jo Wallner is just one of many of those people who dropped things off.
"The season is about giving. It's the Christmas season, holiday season and some people aren't as fortunate as others," said Wallner. "It's a time to remember those who may need a little extra help."
      Across the country, more and more veterans need that little extra help. According to the Social Security Administration, 9.4 million of them get Social Security benefits. 14% of them have an income below 150 percent of the federal poverty rate. 25% of them are even lower than that.
     "I think it's nice that our organization was able to help someone and to find someone. I mean there's lots of people, but that we were able to do that was very important," said Wallner.
     Kent says they were able to surprise the Veteran earlier this afternoon and for him, this is what Christmas is all about - giving back.