Through rain and shine, snow and sleet; Willie Ortiz has cared for his feral neighborhood cats every day for the last 22 years – and when we say every day, we mean every day.
The 75-year-old collects recyclable scrap metals which he sells at a salvage yard. All of the money he makes, he uses to buy cat food for the 68 local felines in Hartford, Connecticut. If a new furry friend joins the colonies, he carefully captures it so he can get it spayed or neutered.
Despite those mishaps, however, Willie soldiers on with his mission.
To assist with his financial burden 14 months ago, Kathleen set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for cat food, vet visits, feline medication, and gas money.
“He collects and sells scrap metal everyday, no matter the weather. He relies on donations so he can continue his mission. He has not missed one night of feeding despite the rain, snow, freezing weather or his own health issues.”
Donations were few and far between – until one of their friends posted the story on Reddit. Contributions poured in, raising a total of $25,000.
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Kathleen says that Willie couldn’t believe his good fortune.
“He was so excited and when he gets really excited, I have trouble understanding his accent. He was so happy and so relieved! He really wasn’t sure how he was going to make it through the winter,” says Kathleen.
“He said ‘Do you think I should take a day off from scrapping?’. I told him: ‘I think you should take 2…’”
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Reprint (Photo by Kathleen Schlentz)