Dickinson American Legion Riders lend a helping hand

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DICKINSON, N.D. - Eighty-six-year-old Leonard Proctor boarded a bus in New Jersey heading to Montana three years ago.

"I says, well, well, I could stay here," says Proctor, Korean War Era Veteran.

Although Dickinson wasn't his destination, he got off the bus here and never left.

"It's nice. Dickinson is level for walk and not here. The only thing that's bad is the cold," says Proctor.

But with his only living family member back in New Jersey, Proctor was alone. Until the community became his family.

"He just kind of touched our heart," says Tom Coons, American Legion Riders, Dickinson Chapter Assistant Director.

American Legion Rider Tom Coons and the organization decided to give food baskets to veterans around the city for the holidays.

But when they met Proctor, they realized more needed to be done. They posted on Facebook, asking the community to donate food, clothing and time.

"We'll start with Leonard, and then we'll pick another veteran in the community, and let's adopt as many as we possibly can handle," says Coons.

Proctor's once-empty refrigerator is now full, and his closet stuffed with Christmas presents.

"It's important to have companionship and a friendship and somebody that they can call in a time of need or just to pick up the phone and have a conversation," says Jessica Clifton, Stark County Veterans Service Officer.

The Korean War Era Vet says he's grateful for all the help .

"If he didn't come, I wouldn't be able to stay here. I would have to go to the nursing home," says Proctor.

And is looking forward to a Merry Christmas and an even better new year. ​