The Thurston County Food Bank in Washington gets emails each day from individuals who want to help. Some are offering a loaf of bread or a carton of eggs. Others offer small cash donations or volunteer work like helping wash cars at a fundraiser. A few of the more affluent locals will occasionally make a larger donation of one or two thousand dollars.
However, one day in April, a volunteer at the food bank opened an email to find a message from John Skorna saying he was planning on giving $10,000. to the food bank for their summer lunch program.
What this legit?
While the volunteer’s first instinct was skepticism, it turns out that John was very serious about his donation.
John Skorna had seen suffering in his past and wanted to do something to help. In 2007, John had joined the U.S. Marines corps where he served in an Expeditionary Unit as a sergeant. He toured places like Turkey, Spain, and also Haiti and the United Arab Emirates.
During his tours, he talked with people and handed out emergency supplies while assessing the destruction in the areas. After the Haiti earthquake in 2010, John assisted in unloading food from a ship of supplies. He was shocked by the resiliency of the Haitian people, seeing them in good spirits even with all the destruction and chaos around them.
What he saw while on tour affected him
After his four years of active duty, John left the Marines but the time he spent in those areas of catastrophe fueled his desire to do something.
When he was a lad of 12 years old, Skorna conquered a cancer of his immune system, Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This gave John a conquering spirit over adversity.
The volunteers at the food bank had mostly forgotten John’s donation pledge until he arrived in June with a $10,000. cashier’s check. John’s boss, Ken Albright accompanied him since his construction company had decided to match part of the donation, amounting to $500.
When he first walked in, the volunteers saw him as a modest, young, and practically apologetic man. He didn’t want notoriety but was focused on helping those in need.
His generous gift would cover about 20% of all the meals distributed to children each summer, over 2,760 lunches.
Finding a way to give
When John first decided he wanted to donate to the food bank, he didn’t have the means. He prayed for a way to get more so he could give more. Then he got a job at a construction site. Only spending money on his necessities, John saved every penny he earned over a period of 6 months. When he checked his bank account in June, he was thrilled to see just over $10k and he withdrew every dollar. It was thrilling to see the cashier’s check as he had never had more than one or two thousand dollars to his name.
John says that even though he’s defeated cancer, been his high school football team captain, and served as a Marine, saving his money to make this donation felt bigger than anything else he’s done.
The people at the food bank feel their faith in humanity is restored. One person said that John seemed like the most genuine person who was very thoughtful and selfless. Doing something for others with integrity and not even needing a “thank you” is how John was described.
Just being able to give was enough for John.
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