90-Year-Old Veteran Working At Grocery Store To Make Ends Meet Was Finally Able To Retire After Help From His Community

He was unable to afford his basic expenses without a minimum-wage job.

Portrait of happy retired senior man standing at home near window Ground Picture | Shutterstock

A 90-year-old veteran from New Orleans was finally able to stop working at his local grocery store due to the kindness and generosity of his community, who rallied together to raise funds and provide him with the financial support he needed to enjoy a comfortable retirement. 

Dillion McCormick's inability to retire opened up an important conversation about just how common this type of situation really is.


He was working at a grocery store and pushing carts to make ends meet.

According to CBS affiliate WWL-TV, McCormick had no choice but to take a job at a grocery store in Louisiana, pushing carts just to make enough income to survive. The 90-year-old veteran served in the Air Force and was stationed across the country throughout his career, even ending up in Greenland at one point.

Despite serving his country and all of the benefits that should've come from that, McCormick wasn't afforded the luxury of being able to retire and live comfortably. It wasn't until Karen Swensen, a former New Orleans news anchor, was flabbergasted at seeing him pushing carts on Memorial Day in 90-degree heat. She learned that McCormick needed about $2,500 a month to survive, but only got less than half of that in social security, which is why he took the job at the grocery store.


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"So he must push carts in triple-digit heat to make ends meet. He had the kindest smile and greatest attitude. He is grateful for his job, and his work ethic speaks for itself," Swensen wrote in a video she made about the veteran. After her encounter with him, she immediately started a GoFundMe campaign, and in just 24 hours, she was able to raise $200,000 on his behalf.

"No longer will the 90-year-old veteran have to push shopping carts in triple-digit heat to put food on his table,” Swensen wrote in an update posted to the GoFundMe page. "Should he choose to remain working, it will be just that — his choice."


Speaking with WWL-TV, McCormick was eternally grateful to the people who donated after hearing his story. "I think it’s great. At my age, it’s like a miracle."

While it's amazing that McCormick will finally be able to live the rest of his life in peace and not have to worry about working another day, it's also incredibly saddening that even a veteran has to resort to such means just to keep his head afloat. 

In a study shared by Affordable Housing Finance, more than 30 percent of young vets aged 18 to 24 years are unemployed, and even employed veterans are struggling to meet their basic needs. 

@karenswensen5 Mr. Dillon McCormick learns thosuands of people have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars overnight so the 90 year old veteran can retire. He was collecting shopping carts in triple digit heat at the local grocery store. See prior post #humanityrestored ♬ original sound - karenswensen5

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It says something about our country and the economy that we live in because no elderly person should have to work under such conditions simply to survive. 

It's abhorrent that our government doesn't do more, and despite McCormick having gotten his happy ending, there are still so many other veterans and elderly people alike who either can't afford to retire or have made peace with being forced to work until their last breath.

Most adults over the age of 50 are aware that being able to retire is a luxury they can't afford.

An AARP survey found that about one-quarter of U.S. adults age 50 and older who are not yet retired say they expect to never retire, and 70% are concerned about prices rising faster than their income

About one in four adults over the age of 50 have no retirement savings because everyday expenses, like paying rent and mortgage payments, are some of the biggest reasons people are unable to save for retirement


"Far too many people lack access to retirement savings options, and this, coupled with higher prices, is making it increasingly hard for people to choose when to retire," Indira Venkateswaran, AARP’s senior vice president of research, told PBS. "Everyday expenses continue to be the top barrier to saving more for retirement, and some older Americans say that they never expect to retire."

The fact that it's become incredibly normalized and expected for people to work until they simply can't afford to anymore is a sign that things need to change. It's not empowering for an elderly person to still be pushing carts at a grocery store for minimum wage just to afford a roof over their head. Nor should it be accepted that a majority of people have simply chosen to live with the idea that they will just never be able to retire. 

This Westernized idea that having a job and working is the only thing that people need to do completely negates the fact that there is so much more to life than sitting behind a desk or working in 90-degree heat. 


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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.