Community rallies to help Korean War veteran

Trigg Automotive in Tarkington (owned by Scott and Eileen Trigg) repaired the vehicle of an 88-year-old Korean War veteran Floyd Kauffman (second from left) through donations from the business and community. Pictured left to right are Tina Files, Kauffman, Eileen Trigg and Scott Trigg.

By Vanesa Brashier,

An 88-year-old Korean War veteran, Floyd Kauffman, of Cleveland, is back on the road after expensive repairs to his vehicle were paid for through generous donations from more than two dozen businesses and individuals, mostly in Cleveland and Tarkington.

Kauffman, who has no surviving relatives, became stranded and unable to go out for doctor’s visits and groceries when his car broke down on Sunday.

A resident of the RV park at the American Legion Post #393 in Cleveland, Kauffman was walking along SH 321 Monday morning when Tarkington resident Tina Files came upon him as she was driving. Concerned to see an elderly man walking with a cane along such a busy highway, Files stopped to give him a ride. That’s when she learned of his predicament.

Uncertain where to get help for Kauffman, Files reached out to her friends through social media. Donations started pouring in moments after she made her initial post.

“I didn’t go out campaigning hard for help. I just said, ‘Hey, can you help me help this guy?’ Instantly people were like, ‘Count me in. I’m in. I’m in,'” Files said.

Korean War veteran Floyd Kauffman is happy to be on the road again after his car was repaired through donations from the community.

Smith Towing, owned by Ray Parris of Cleveland, offered to tow Kauffman’s 1994 Ford Explorer to Trigg Automotive in Tarkington, where Files arranged for the most pressing repairs to be made to the vehicle’s standard transmission. Not willing to settle there, Scott Trigg and his team, including wife, Eileen, put in new spark plugs and wires, air filter and shocks, and changed the vehicle’s oil.

Lowe’s Tires in Cleveland donated a new tire to replace a bald one. With a little scheduled maintenance along the way, the vehicle should keep Mr. Kauffman on the road for a few more years.

“When I came here to Trigg Automotive with this predicament, they jumped on it to help. This is a small mom and pop business and they didn’t say no,” Files said.

The money gathered from donations exceeded the cost of discounted repairs, so Kauffman now has a little extra to help him with repairs to his camping trailer.

Kauffman is originally from Pennsylvania and moved to Cleveland in 1996. He has lived in the RV Park at the American Legion Post since October 2019. He served four years in the Naval Air Force where his job was an observer in an aircraft. Their mission, according to Kauffman, was to eliminate submarines that threatened U.S. Forces. He will turn 89 next month and has outlived all of his family members.

Kauffman said he is grateful for the community’s help.

“I think it’s fantastic. It’s awesome really,” he said. “I was going into town to try and find a way to get my car fixed when Tina came along. I got lucky.”

When asked if the community’s help was an answer to his prayers, Kauffman said with a chuckle, “I am not much of a praying person, but I might have to change my ways now.”

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