BOISE -- An Idaho National Guard member rallied support to lend a helping hand to a fellow Guard member in need during this season of giving.
Blake Pannell wanted to do something to help the soldier after finding out she was getting dropped off outside of base and walking in to drill - usually early in the morning in cold conditions.
He found out she was in a tough financial position and didn't have a car of her own at the time.
So he started a fundraiser for her, and what came out of it is remarkable. He set up a GoFundMe account with the goal of raising $650 to buy his fellow soldier a car. She had no idea.
"That's just what we're about. We want to take care of our soldiers, of our people. Not even just military, civilians, whoever," Pannell told KTVB.
Friends, veterans, soldiers and strangers shared and pitched in to the GoFundMe; Pannell says in just four hours, it spread and hundreds of dollars were donated. Then, an exceptional act of generosity: A woman out of Portland caught wind of the fundraiser - a total stranger to Blake and the soldier he was hoping to help - and decided to donate her truck.
"Hopefully this gets her to where she needs to be... I just saw there was a service member struggling getting to base every day and that right there alone bothered me. I don't think anybody in the military should be walking to work," Erin Day said. "I feel like their sacrifice is so much more than giving a car to somebody."
Day drove her car all the way down to the Treasure Valley from Portland last weekend and dropped it off at Pannell's house for him to deliver it to his fellow service member.
"As soon as she knew we were giving her the truck she just put her hands in her face and she just started bawling. She texted her first line leader later on that day and said that was the best thing that's ever happened to her," Pannell said.
People have donated almost $400 to the GoFundMe. So what are they going to do with that? Well, Pannell says they're now giving the soldier that money to pay for her car registration and other bills.
"Giving her the truck and the money during these hard times, like, yeah I think it was a huge boost for her that she needed. So it was an awesome experience," Pannel added. "It's just doing the right thing, just being a good person."
Pannell and Day hope this situation inspires people to see the needs and burdens others carry and lend a hand, not just during the holiday season, but any time of the year.
Pannell isn't asking for any more donations and plans to close the GoFundMe soon.