Marine veteran forced to stand in the cold for Toys for Tots

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MEDINA, Ohio – John Harkness served his country in the United States Marine Corps. and now serves his community.

For the past 15 years, Harkness has worn his uniform and collected donations for Toys for Tots inside the Medina Walmart.

This year, something changed.

“They made us stay outside,” Harkness told WOIO. “We’re there to collect toys for children that need a Christmas.”

Shoppers were outraged to see the Marine standing outside in the cold and rain.

“I just said, ‘Why can’t they put you inside? This is crap,” said Mary Murdock.

While he wasn’t allowed inside, Harkness says strangers did their best to keep him warm by bringing him coffee and sandwiches.

“It’s encouraging,” he said.

Walmart issued a statement, saying that corporate policy does not allow “this type of solicitation inside our stores and we apologize for any confusion about this policy.”

After much backlash, the company says it will work with Toys for Tots next year to come up with a different plan.

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