A U.S. Army veteran in East Peoria, Illinois, is giving back to his fellow servicemen in a unique way this Christmas season.
For the past six weeks, veteran Mike Rodcay has spent hours decorating his home located at 511 James Parkway with 7,500 white lights, according to CIProud.com.
“I guess you could say it was just a fluke because I only wanted to put out icicle lights out this year,” he said, adding, “Then it just evolved into 7500 lights.”
Rodcay served his country for 31 years and has decided to collect 7,500 pennies from people who drive by his display and donate them to the Wounded Warrior Project Greater Peoria Chapter.
The Wounded Warrior Project’s website stated that its mission is to walk alongside America’s veterans and service members as they transition back into civilian life.
“We are here for their first step, and each step that follows. Because we believe that every warrior should have a positive future to look forward to. There’s always another goal to achieve, another mission to discover. We are their partner in that mission.
Rodcay said the inspiration for the fundraiser was born from memories of his time in Iraq.
“When I was in Iraq twice at Christmastime, we got boxes and it was just addressed to ‘American Service Member,'” he recalled.
“So you open it up and you have a little bit of home. You have toilet paper, tissues, hand wipes, a whole slew of stuff that you can’t get in Iraq.”
It was because of those care packages that Rodcay said he wanted to do something to give back to his fellow veterans.
“These guys, they paid a price, so they deserve to be helped,” he concluded.
Rodcay said he will be available outside his home from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. every evening from December 20 until Christmas Day to collect donations.