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Hero Next Door: John Sornberger

8:18 PM, May 13, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Since July 1996, John Sornberger has been volunteering at the Teacher Supply Depot in Jacksonville.

The 91-year-old World War II veteran said he wants to spend his time doing something productive.

"It beats sitting down in a chair doing nothing. Living alone," he said.
    
He started volunteering at the warehouse two years after his wife died unexpectedly on the couple's 50th wedding anniversary.

"I was alone and my daughter-in-law said they were starting up and needed some help moving boxes," he said.
    
Every week, Sornberger puts in at least 45 hours, organizing binders, building book shelves and doing any other handyman work needed at the warehouse.

"We've got to educate our young people or we're down in the drain. It's critical," he said.

Since he began volunteering at the warehouse in 1996, Sornberger has organized more than one million binders. Binders that are used by teachers and students in need across Duval County.

"My mentality in things is to keep busy. And the best way to do that is to do something productive and that will help others," he said.     

Sornberger hasn't allowed cancer or hardened heart valves to stop him. And he's made such an impact that President Barack Obama recently recognized him as a hero.    

The president mailed Sornberger a letter and pin for the exceptional work he's done in the community.

"It's quite an honor and humble. That you're even considered," Sornberger said.
    
John Sornberger is our "Hero Next Door."

"No. No hero no hero no thing. I'm just a plain ol' codger," he said.

Two weeks ago, Sornberger received Hands on Jacksonville's Young at Heart Award. It is given to seniors 70 and older who do extraordinary work in their community.

First Coast News

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