A businessman in Cary, North Carolina, recently made it his mission to ensure service members spent the holidays with their families this year.
“Active duty US armed forces member who can’t afford to fly home for holidays? I will pay for five random member’s air fare home. Retweet and have the hero DM me. I will pull five names out of a hat on Dec. 2nd,” he wrote on Twitter November 30.
Roshitsh, who is a U.S. Air Force veteran, said it took a while for people to catch on to his message. However, once Sunday rolled around the requests started pouring in.
“I originally thought this is five names I’ll be done by Sunday night, I won’t have to do anything. And an email comes in, another email comes in, another email comes in,” he said.
So far, nearly 60 service members stationed around the world have asked for his help, but what really surprised Roshitsh was when people began donating money to help pay for the flights.
“Military people don’t get paid a lot especially enlisted. I think an E1 might make $15000 a year. And so to travel home is a real hardship,” he noted.
One service member named Sarah needed to get home in time to see her father, who was not feeling well.
“Her dad is sick and they didn’t know if they’d be able to get home for the holidays and so she had no other way and so she threw her name in a hat,” Roshitsh said.
Tuesday, the veteran tweeted a live video of himself and a colleague as they drew 26 names out of the hat.
Roshitsh said he did not expect his initial offer to grow into what it has become, adding that he hopes to help every service member who applied.
“As long as the donations keep trickling in, I’ll keep drawing names,” he concluded.