Edward Kingery is homeless and has been living under a bridge along the Kinnickinnic River for the past two years.
“There’s nothing worse in your life than coming home and facing something like this,” Kingery told us on Wednesday.
Kingery says he worked for the same company for 33 years. He lost several close family members in a short amount of time and his life unraveled. His emotional interview resonated with 12 news viewers like Karyn Oberlander. She wanted meet Edward to give him a hug and a gift.
“That was awesome, I mean I felt that hug and I’m just really glad that I was able to make him feel that way,” she said. “To want to hug me and hug me that hard and that tight,”
Karyn gave him a $100 Visa gift card and a $20 M-card to take the bus. Edward politely refused the offer several times, but Karyn wouldn’t budge.
“I’m overwhelmed,” said Edward. “My heart is just joyful,”
For 10 years of her life, Karyn was in a similar situation.
“You know I’ve been homeless, too,” she said. “So that kind of touched home with me too, you know I’ve been there. Especially in the winter time like this, it’s even worse,”
Karyn also wanted to show her two young sons, 9-year-old Jayden and 16-year-old Zach, that Edward may be homeless but he’s also a person.
“The stigma of homeless people being “bad” or “alcoholics” or “drug addicts” is not always the case,” she said.
“There are good people and you never look forward to that, you don’t even think about it because you look like this (how he’s dressed) and you’re thinking that these people are looking down on you,” Edward commented.
Edward already knows how he’ll spend the money.
“I’m going to go buy some long johns, some warm socks, couple of sweatshirts and I’ll probably buy somebody else something too,” he said.
He had some advice for the Karyn’s sons: “To be honest and good and with a gracious heart is a very good thing,” he told them. “Your mother is a great woman. Thank you so much,”
He also made a promise to Karyn.
“I’m going to repay you someday,” he said. “Maybe I’ll come shovel your snow!”