City employees raise $3,200 for soldier
City of Cape Coral employees are trying to look out for one of their own.
City employees donated $3,200 to Pfc. Corey Kent’s family recently, hand delivered by Cape Police Sgt. Rob Wardrop to Walter Reed Hospital where Kent is recovering from serious injuries.
City spokeswoman Connie Barron said Wardrop originally intended to have city employees sign cards showing their support for Kent, but later decided to try and raise money for his family, who are also at Walter Reed in Maryland.
Barron said Wardrop expected to collect a few hundred dollars, and was overwhelmed, but happy, that donations were so strong.
Donations were collected over a period of two weeks, according to Barron.
“The idea was to reach out to him (Kent), and let him know city employees care about him,” Barron said.
Councilmember Bill Deile is also planning to fly up and visit Kent and his family.
Barron said it was decided that someone from city council should make the trip, and Deile, a retired U.S. Army colonel, was the logical choice to go.
Local business persons donated $550 for the cost of a plane ticket. The remainder of the money for the plane ticket will go to the family, Barron added.
Deile said he was preparing a proclamation to name Corey Kent’s birthday as Corey Kent Day.
Though the trip is not immediately scheduled, Deile said he’d be visiting Kent very soon.
The trip was important, Deile said, because Kent needs to know the community, and the city, support him, and hope for his speedy recovery and return home.
“It’s our effort to tell him he’s not alone,” Deile said. “We want to tell him we appreciate his service, and his sacrifice.”
Local media outlets were vying to tag along on Deile’s visit, but Kent did not want to see anyone but the council member, according to Barron.
Kent, 21, lost his right leg up to his hip, his left leg to his thigh and fingers on his left hand as a result of an improvised explosive device (IED) explosion while on dismounted foot patrol with his squad in Afghanistan in July.
Kent is a true native son of Lee County, born and raised in Cape Coral and a graduate of Mariner High School.
Kent attended a year at the University of Central Florida in Orlando before deciding to join the armed forces.
There has been an outpouring of help from the community since word of Kent’s injuries reached stateside.
Car washes, benefit dinners and other fund-raisers have been aimed to raise money for the family.
Kent’s mother, Tiffany, and stepfather, Dan Ashby, left their jobs to be with their son during his recovery efforts at Walter Reed.
Now city employees can add their names to the list of people who’ve reached out to Kent and his family.
“The money can go a long way to helping the family,” Barron added.
A fund for Kent has been set up through Bank of America.
Donations to the “Pfc. Corey A. Kent Family Assistance Fund” can be made at any local Bank of America branch.