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Wal-Mart Forces Marine Vet To Stand Out In The Cold While Collecting Money For Children

January 12, 2016

Marine vet John Harkness and his wife have stood outside the Wal-Mart in Medina, OH for the last 15 years collecting money and toys for the Toys For Tots program in the area.


This year however, patrons began to notice the elderly veteran standing outside in the bitter cold and demanded answers. Shopper Mary Murdock said:

“I just said, why can’t they put you inside? This is crap.”


Wal-Mart responded with the following statement:

“Walmart’s corporate policy across our more than 4500 stores does not allow this type of solicitation inside our stores and we apologize for any confusion about this policy.”

Wal-Mart has pledged to work with him next year to both help him and work within their policy, such as providing him a tent.

Harkness says he is just grateful for the support – from cups of coffee to sandwiches and donations given to him by shoppers.

“It’s encouraging. It’s fantastic. It’s good to have the general public, vets and non-vets support you.



MEDINA, OH (WOIO) – The manager of the Medina Walmart store and the company’s marketing manager met with Marine veteran John Harkness and his wife on the heels of a social media firestorm.

Harkness says he has been allowed to stand inside the Medina store and collect toy and money for the Toys for Tots campaign, but this year, he says the new store manager sent him out into the cold.

“They made us stay outside,” said Harkness. “We’re there to collect toys for children that need a Christmas.”

Read more at NBC WOIO

Should Wal-Mart change their policy to avoid this from happening? Sound off in the comments below!