Kerry Collins (left) of the U.S. Vets Thrift Store in Murphy presents a $2,000 check to the Jensen family of Ranger on Saturday afternoon. The family lost their husband and father, Justin, in a tragic traffic accident last month. Justin also was a U.S. Marine who served three tours in combat.

Veterans thrift store donates $2,000 to Jensen family

    Murphy – Tammie McDowell’s eyes filled with tears when Kerry Collins showed her the amount raised by U.S. Vets Thrift Store for the Jensen family before they entered the building Saturday morning.
    “She’s blessed,” McDowell said of her sister, Dorothy Jensen. “She’s definitely blessed to be in a community that supports the military.”
    McDowell has been back and forth between her home in Cleveland, Tenn., to support Jensen and her seven children for almost a month. Jensen’s husband, Justin, died as the result of a traffic accident April 11. He was a Marine.
    To raise funds for the family, Collins and his wife, Greta, held a silent auction at the store for a sculpture of “The Servicemen” by Frederick E. Hart, the official Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund sculpture. The sculpture was donated by Lt. Col. Mike Nicholas specifically for the purpose to help the family.
    The winning bid was $400, which Collins matched for a donation of $800 from the auction. Veteran Randy Veroline won the sculpture.
    In addition to the auction, Collins donated 10 percent of total sales at the store in April to the Jensen family. As a result of a little rounding up, he was able to hand the family $2,000.
    “It means a lot. Words cannot describe how touched I really am,” Jensen said. “It keeps us in our home for another month.”
    Collins’ fundraiser is one of the many ways the community has come together to support the family in their loss. Jensen said people have brought them meals, groceries – including diapers and toilet paper – and money to pay bills. She is “beyond grateful” to everyone who has helped her family.
    An accountant by trade, McDowell said she is accustomed to thinking long term. He is working to help her sister make all she has and is given last as long as possible.
    The GoFundMe page for the Jensen family has raised $13,574 of its $20,000 goal in 24 days. To donate, visit