FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- Sean Coyle is an Army veteran who risked his life in Afghanistan. So you can imagine why his friends were outraged to recently learn he’s been sleeping on the floor, is months behind on his bills and barely has a penny to his name. Now, those friends are taking action.
Coyle is a recent transfer student at Colorado State University. He moved to Fort Collins just a few months ago after nearly a decade in the Army and a couple years at a community college on the east coast. He moved to Colorado with nearly nothing -- not even a bed. And not much money either.
His finances recently got worse when his Montgomery GI Bill check, used to cover education and living expenses, didn’t show up.
"Don't have money to pay the bills," Coyle told FOX31 Denver.
With the check weeks overdue, he was broke. It took a visit from an old Army buddy to drive home how dire the situation had become.
"What I saw really angered me,” said Jay Lobins. “I saw a good friend of mine trying to do the right thing, trying to go to school, using the GI bill, following the system, and to see my friend living in worse conditions than when he was living in Afghanistan eight years ago was simply unacceptable. Living on the floor of his apartment, several months behind on bills, little food to eat, doing his best to stretch $143 to last several months.”
So Lobins took immediate action, emailing a letter to everyone he knew, asking them to pitch in. He told them Coyle was struggling badly, and needed help fast.
“I did not expect the outpouring that came back to me - the tidal wave of support was actually overwhelming,” Lobins said.
Within two hours of sending that letter, they had people wanting to donate from as far away as Afghanistan. And about three weeks ago, they were able to make things right for their friend, who'd risked his life for his country.
“We showed up with a bed, bedding, warm winter clothes, food, gas cards, he had no idea any of this was being done for him,” Lobins said.
And now, it's given rise to something even bigger. Because of Sean,Jay has started a non-profit, called Help Out Not Handouts, to help other veterans who need help with essentials.
“I didn't ask for help, I'm stubborn like many veterans are, and if you ask me to this day I would have been fine, but it's nice to know the support network is there,” Coyle said.
Lobins said his new charity can't change the world for everyone... but they will for someone. And they’ve already accomplished that by helping Sean.
Lobins said that 97 cents of every dollar donated goes straight to helping Colorado veterans in need.
To donate, or learn more, click here: www.helpoutnothandouts.org