Joe De La Cruz has been volunteering at the VA Hospital ever since the devastating Moore tornado of 2013, but his service began years ago.
A decorated veteran of the Vietnam War, De La Cruz has made it his mission to make sure no fellow veteran ever has to go without.
“The VA helped me when I needed it, I’m just paying it back. That’s all it is, it’s payback,” said De La Cruz.
Recently, De La Cruz’s doctor told him he had to slow down and cut back on the five-day work weeks here.
In order to keep doing what he loves, he’s improvising.
“I’m going to continue helping out as much as I can from home. I’ll even drive up to McDonald’s, and meet the veteran there, and help him there if I can, take the paperwork do whatever I can, tell him what to bring me,” De La Cruz said.
Selflessness that those who work alongside him say he displays every day.
It’s what led his buddy Ken Wyatt to nominate him for First Fidelity Bank’s Pay It 4ward.
“He’s so dedicated. When somebody needs some money, or somebody needs clothes or something, he’ll get it for them,”Wyatt said.
First Fidelity Bank’s Marissa Mindieta was excited to help surprise De La Cruz with a cash award.
“On behalf of First Fidelity Bank, I’m thrilled to present you with $400 to pay it forward!” Mindieta said.
As predicted, De La Cruz didn’t pause to even look at the cash. He immediately handed it off to the state commander of the American Legion to go toward a raffle to help veterans in need.