Unsung Hero: Shannon Wimberly


By Ashley Smith
By Josue

MARION -- A Good Samaritan steps up to help a homeless man find shelter from the winter cold. A friendship and a humanitarian effort has begun. 

We all know it's been a long winter, but 88-year-old Samuel Samples knows all too well how rough these past few months have been. 

"I've been going from motel to motel," said Samuel Samples.
Samuel lives off of veteran's benefits and social security. His total income is around 1,000 dollars a month.
Samuel says this winter that simply wasn't enough to live on, and he was forced to spend several nights on the streets.
One of those cold nights, Shannon Wimberly and his girlfriend saw Samuel on the streets in Marion.  Shannon stopped to offer Samuel a ride, and then learned he was planning to sleep outside in the bitter cold.
"I could barely be out there five minutes," said Shannon Wimberly, " I can't imagine being out there an entire night.  It breaks your heart, it really does."
Shannon put Samuel in a hotel that night and set up a website to collect money to find him a permanent home.
"It brought me to tears. I went back to my apartment and my girlfriend and I were strategizing how to make this work," explains Shannon, "And it just brought me to tears and we already saw money coming in that night."
After contacting the VA and other sources of housing assistance, Shannon says he quickly learned it was going to take more time and effort to find an affordable apartment for his new friend.
"I decided it's up to me to at least make people aware and have funds coming in to get him a place and get him going," said Shannon
Samuel's possessions are confined to a storage unit. In addition to clothes and shoes, some items remind Samuel of the life he once lived.  He looks through a WWII book and shares his own war stories.
Samuel says he wants to find an apartment soon so he can unpack his boxes and suitcases.
"I'm not looking for a paradise, I'm looking for a place to survive," said Samuel.
Shannon says he's hoping to collect enough money to pay for at least six months of rent so Samuel has a financial cushion to help him.
If you would like to make a donation to help Samuel, follow this link.
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