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Veterans feeding veterans: The Robersons

Linda Roberson accepted the Pay It Forward surprise in honor of her late husband W.V. Roberson.

Since 2010, a Korean War veteran from Soddy Daisy has dedicated his life to feeding area servicemen and women and their families.

On Veteran's Day he would organize a free dinner for hundreds of people.

80-year-old W.V. Roberson was supposed to be this week's Pay It Forward nominee.

Tragically, he passed away right before we planned to surprise him.

Jessica Harthorn talked to his wife, who says she will use the money to keep his legacy alive.

During this week's Pay It Forward Linda Roberson knew we were coming.

But what she didn't expect, was an emotional thank you from the man who nominated her husband for all his sacrifice and hard work.

Mitchell Chambers met us just outside the home were W. V. Roberson lived with his wife Linda for decades.

But today, Mitchell's weekly visit was a somber one.

"Hello Ms. Linda, how are you doing? Good to see you lady. How are you doing?" asked Mitchell.

"I'm doing OK," replied Linda.

"Good. I'm here to surprise you with a presentation for Pay It Forward with Newschannel 9 and the McMahan Law Firm, in honor of W. V. and all he's done. Hold your hand out, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5," said Mitchell.

"Thank you," said Linda. "He would be very, very pleased, and it will go to the veteran's dinner for sure."

The inspiration for the veteran's dinner started nine years ago.

Linda showed us pictures, while explaining W. V. got the idea eating at Applebee's on Veteran's Day.

"And they fed him for free and he said, 'if Applebee's can do it, I can too.' And I said, that's an idea you need to forget about, and he didn't," said Linda.

Every year, W. V. collected food and donations and hosted a free Veteran's Day dinner at First Baptist Church of Soddy Daisy.

Related | Veterans Taking Care of Veterans

"And he always said, this is my way of saying thank you for your service," said Linda.

W. V. served our country too. In 1960, he was drafted into the Korean War and served in a HAWK missile battalion.

Linda says they had only been married a year.

"I was just devastated. But God took care of me," said Linda.

That experience changed him. Years later, W. V. organized an effort to place a cross and an American flag for each deceased soldier in front of Soddy Daisy City Hall.

Mitchell says it was there he got the call W. V. had died of cancer.

"Just everyone stopped, and it was appropriate that after he said that, there was silence, and it was ironic that W. V. passes away and we are doing what W. V. wanted us to be doing," said Mitchell.

And today, Mitchell made a promise to Linda W. V. will always be remembered.

"We want you to know, that we are here for him, and that the dinner for veterans and crosses at city hall, whatever he was in to, it will continue," promised Mitchell.

"It means a lot to me," said Linda.

The Robersons would have celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary on June 14th.

This Veteran's Day, which is November 11th, W. V. 's dinner will continue at First Baptist Church of Soddy Daisy.


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