For Michael Sosinski, hearing about the struggles of injured and homeless veterans in Orlando was a call to action.
The University of Central Florida junior had always been active in the community, and he feels a special connection to veterans because he has several relatives and friends who have served or are serving their country. His father is a Vietnam vet and his grandfather served in World War II.
“Helping the homeless veterans and those coming back from the service with injuries was on my mind,” Sosinski said. “I knew I couldn’t change their situations, but thought I could in some small way bring smiles to their faces.”
So Sosinski organized an Easter gift campaign to collect toiletries and clothing for men and women who have served overseas.
He reached out to his friends, families and fellow students, local businesses, sports teams and parishioners at his church. He also published an article in his hometown newspaper, The Apopka Chief, asking for residents to join him in his campaign.
More than $4,000 worth of donations poured in.
“The response was overwhelming,” Sosinski said. “I am very grateful for all donations in these trying economic times.”
Last month Sosinski delivered the goods to the Orlando Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
“Students like Michael remind us all that to serve is the highest calling,” said Renee Frosbutter, a voluntary service specialist at the center. “Items we sometimes take for granted are valuable necessities to a veteran in need. We are so thankful for Michael’s leadership in this project.”
Sosinski is studying Biology and hopes to become a doctor. He wants to attend medical school after he graduates next spring and is applying to numerous schools in Florida and across the country.
He hopes to make the gift drive an annual event in Central Florida and says he will continue to help others wherever he continues his education.
“I have a very blessed life and know that these veterans have risked their lives to give all of us the freedoms we enjoy,” said Sosinski. “An important part of medical school and my future career as a doctor focuses on community service and giving back.”