- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 14, 2014

An Iraq war veteran was stunned when he walked into a Houston-area repair shop to find out that strangers had paid nearly $20,000 to have his ‘65 Mustang restored.

Retired Staff Sgt. Kelly Foster bought the classic car in 2005 after his first tour of duty in Iraq. He had been paying little by little to have the Mustang fixed up at a Pearland, Texas, auto shop, a local CBS affiliate reported.

Margaret and Timor Martin were getting their classic car fixed at the same shop when they heard about the soldier’s story and decided to lend a hand.

“We got some friends of ours together and everyone pitched in,” Mrs. Martin told the station. “We wanted to kind of pay it forward for someone who has served this country.”

She said they got about 35 people together to pitch in for the soldier’s car, and they all gathered together for the surprise unveiling.

Mr. Foster thought he was going to simply check on his car when he found that it had been restored to mint condition.

“We wanted to pay you back for putting your life on the line for us,” Mrs. Martin said tearfully.

“I’m extremely surprised. I had no idea this would happen,” Sgt. Foster said after hugging the Martins. “I’m speechless.”

The Martins both come from strong military families and say they wanted to give back to those who served, the station reported.

“We feel like these guys are underpaid and under appreciated,” Mrs. Martin said. “They are not taken care of the way someone who is willing to put their life on their line should be treated.”

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