$65K Raised for Pearl Harbor Vet Scammed Out of Life Savings
Jack Holder says he has 1,000 thank you notes to write
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 23, 2016 2:47 PM CDT
Jack Holder   (GoFundMe)

(Newser) – Publishers Clearing House couldn't help Jack Holder. Bank of America said it couldn't help him, either. But nearly 1,000 regular people could, and did, donating more than $65,000 to a GoFundMe account after the 94-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor was scammed out of nearly all of his life savings earlier this year, the Arizona Republic reports. Holder, who also flew in the Battle of Midway and over the English Channel, had been contacted back in March and told he'd won a Publishers Clearing House contest, per a May Republic article. And although he's far from what the paper calls a "doddering old man"—he's an avid golfer, just published a book on his war experiences, and makes regular speeches on his military service—he still fell for the con, which involved being tricked into sending thieves $43,000 of his own and his fiancee's money (and the scheme was pretty elaborate—read the entire Republic article to see how they did it). "I realize now how stupid I was," he said, agreeing to be profiled in the media to alert other people to his mistake so they wouldn't fall prey to similar scams.

But Shana Schwarz, a young mom of three from Gilbert, Ariz., felt terrible for what had befallen Holder, so she set up the GoFundMe account, which grew so quickly that she eventually turned it over to the Greatest Generations Foundation, a nonprofit veterans organization that Holder regularly helped out with. "We were blessed to be able help one of the last survivors of Pearl Harbor," TGGF head Tim Davis tells the Republic, adding that his group will present Holder with a check for the $65,000 and change—which will cover the savings he lost, plus a little extra, to help pay for car repairs and surgeries he and his fiancee had put off. "If I can get the names of all of these people [who donated], I'm going to send out a personal thank you to every one," Holder tells the Republic, noting he'd never heard of GoFundMe before this. "I never expected anything. I came forward to make sure some fool didn't fall into the same trap I did." (An entire NBA team lost its personal info to an email scammer.)