Little did he know, a thief who recently reportedly stole a jar containing donation money from a local eatery held in his hands the likely holiday fate of several families.

Officers with the Meridian Police Department and deputies attached to the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department corralled the alleged thief minutes later. Unfortunately, the money was never recovered. But there is a silver lining to this story and who better to tell it than Bobbye C. Jerome who is the president of auxiliary of American Legion Post 257.

“The manager of the Little Caesar’s location on North Hills Street where this occurred felt so strongly about what had happened he donated the amount of money he thought was in the jar at the time of the theft,” said Jerome, who is an independent veteran’s advocate. “I was just blown away by that gesture.”

Jerome hopes to see more acts of kindness as the Christmas holiday season approaches. It would mean a great deal to families such as the Gulf War veteran who was gravely injured in that conflict.

“His wife had to quit work to care for him because he’s become paralyzed,” Jerome said. “They have a 14-year old son.”

Then there is the First Gulf War veteran on disability from injuries he suffered. He has two step-sons currently fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Or the veteran from the present Iraq War who has been medically separated from the military. That family has three small children of which the youngest has a severe birth defect.

“He is trying valiantly to work in spite of his disabilities but it is not enough to absorb their costs,” Jerome said.

Several boxes and jars are scattered around Meridian, according to Jerome. Citizen’s National Bank has paid for radio ads announcing the locations and the urgent nature of the donations in order to help these and many other families of veterans. Jerome hopes the people of Meridian will open their hearts for those less fortunate.

“These are veterans who were injured in the service of this great country,” she said. “It is my hope and prayer the people of Meridian, whenever they see these donation boxes and jars, will remember that fact.”

If you would like to help, contact Jerome at 601-679-5055.

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