On a day where America stops to honor its Veterans, the community rallied around a local marine who was injured in Afghanistan, and recently diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease.
Kyle Francis, who went to Cicero-North Syracuse High School went into the service to fight for people he did not know, and on Sunday afternoon, hundreds of people he has never met, showed up to support the retired marine. He was seriously wounded in Afghanistan in May 2010, and while recovering from his injuries, he has now been diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Although Francis says he does not deserve it, today's outpouring of support meant a lot to him.
"It's what keeps me strong, and what keeps me going, just being here and seeing all this support," Francis says.
Family and friends say they could not believe how many people turned out to the Maplewood Inn, either to donate money for Francis' health care costs, or to simply say thank you for his sacrifice.
"It's overwhelming," Francis' father Lamar Williams says. "We came in and just stood there in awe...so many people we don't even know."
With the benefit taking place on Veterans Day, along with the community, Francis' family and friends realized how much he has already taught them.
"He has younger siblings that are still grasping what it means to be a veteran," Francis' mother, Lisa Williams says. "They are still grasping what it means to be a veteran, to them it was a day off from school, until they had a brother that joined the marines and fought for our country."