Kentucky Marine Veteran Raises Thousands Of Dollars, Delivers Christmas Surprise For Storm Victims

A Kentucky Navy veteran has helped deliver Christmas cheer after a tornado wreaked havoc in his home state just two weeks ago.

Shawn Triplett raised nearly $ 100,000 in donations to provide holiday gifts for victims of the tornado that devastated several counties in western Kentucky.

“Everyone has been wonderful and around 1,200 families have been helped in one way or another,” he told Fox News.

Triplett gained attention after posting a photo on Twitter showing the devastation in his hometown of Mayfield before continuing for more than 220 miles.

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Triplett, who rushed to the scene after the tornado, told ABC News he was motivated to help more after hearing a little boy say, “I lost my Christmas,” while visiting a storm shelter.

“I reached out to my social networks, friends and family and said, ‘This is what I do. Trust me, it will happen. Let’s get down to business,'” he said. declared on publication.

The former Marine said he had hoped to help 20 to 30 families, but his social media advocacy went viral and Triplett received responses from people around the world.

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MAYFIELD, KY – DECEMBER 11: A sign for the town of Mayfield, Ky. Stands amid tornado damage on December 11, 2021, in Mayfield, Ky. Several tornadoes ravaged parts of the lower Midwest on Friday evening, leaving a wide path of destruction and multiple deaths.
((Photo by Brett Carlsen / Getty Images))

“It was really pretty cool, because I don’t really speak Japanese or French, so I had to use Google Translate to respond to people and just thank them,” he said.

Triplett raised $ 99,064 in less than 10 days, according to the Go Fund Me page.

After teaming up with Walmart, Triplett and a team of volunteers hand-packed thousands of toys for those hardest hit by the tornado.

“Our main event last week happily cleaned us up,” he told Fox News. “Other than that, I made secret Santa Claus at the local Walmart by letting parents load up toy carts for their kids.”

Triplett said he made sure the children were present with the parents, adding that there was concern that people could abuse the system and return the gifts for money.

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A young boy holds a candle during a vigil following the tornadoes that ravaged the area days earlier in Mayfield, Ky., Late Tuesday, December 14, 2021.

A young boy holds a candle during a vigil following the tornadoes that ravaged the area days earlier in Mayfield, Ky., Late Tuesday, December 14, 2021.
(AP Photo / Gerald Herbert)

“But we haven’t seen that,” he said. “I’m still working on collecting and totaling receipts, but we’re looking at around $ 145,000 spent at Walmart and an additional $ 300,000 on donated toys and bikes.”

He and his volunteers have handed out around 20,000 toys and are counting.

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