What started as an attempt to practice sign language to communicate with a friend, ended up changing the life of a 79-year-old US Navy veteran.
When Kenny Jary was learning ASL to communicate with a deaf friend, his neighbor, Amanda Kline, decided to record him and share the videos on TikTok. Little did either of them know what would come from those videos.
Jary served on the USS Okinawa assault ship as a helicopter refueler in the 1960s. 60 years later, Jary is now 79-years-old and suffers from COPD, a disease that can make breathing (and, therefore, walking) difficult.
Because of his age and COPD, Jary relies on a scooter to get out of the house. He’s quite lively and makes it out regularly to the coffee shop, the Veteran’s Park, and more.
Of course, that wouldn’t be possible without his handy-dandy mobility scooter, which is often featured in the TikTok videos shared by his neighbor.
His scooter is always decked out in red, white, and blue, full of flags and plenty of smiles.
Sadly, Jary’s 2003 scooter stopped working and the repairman said it wasn’t salvageable. He shared the news on TikTok, saying he cried over the broken scooter. He said, “I met some beautiful on this scooter by traveling around.” Without the scooter, he’d be home-bound.
The video got such a reaction that Amanda had an idea to help. She’d start a GoFundMe and see if they could raise enough money to purchase a new scooter – and the results blew her away!
Not only were they able to raise enough money for a newer, fancier scooter, but they raised an additional $100,000!
She shared the news with Kenny and captured his reactions in the videos below:
Kenny was so grateful for the new scooter and money, he wanted to pay it forward by using the money to donate 10 scooters to veterans in need.
From there, he wanted to help even more and started a fundraiser to donate as many mobility scooters as possible to veterans in need. You can learn more about the fundraiser and support Kenny and his work here.
While Kenny’s TikTok channel started a sweet way to share about his American Sign Language journey, it ended up being so much more.Whizzco