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Photograph of Jefferson City soldier feeding homeless man goes viral

By Daniel Winn, Anchor/Reporter, daniel.winn@kmiz.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 03:23:53 AM CST
Updated On: Aug 27 2013 11:46:20 AM CDT

Last Tuesday, a photograph was taken of a soldier giving his lunch to a homeless man in Jefferson City. Since then, the photo and story has gained attention across all of Mid-Missouri.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -

Last Tuesday, a photograph was taken of a soldier giving his lunch to a homeless man in Jefferson City.

In the following days, the photo was shared by hundreds on Facebook and seen by thousands.

Eventually, the soldier came forward and identified himself after the news made it all the way to top military officials in Washington, D.C.

Staff Sgt. Justin McClain is a U.S. Army recruiter. He and his family have only lived in Jefferson City for two months.

Since then, they've started seeing a homeless man all over town.

A few weeks ago, McClain's wife, Rachael, stopped at McDonald's and bought the man a meal. She had a conversation with the man, only known as "Robert."

Robert asked her if she was a Christian and she replied that she was.

As she drove away, she saw him stand over the food and pray.

"It was like he knew God was feeding him," Rachel told ABC 17 News.

Last Tuesday, Staff Sgt. McClain and a fellow recruiter were driving down Missouri Blvd. in the Capital City.

McClain saw the man again and told his partner to pull over.

"Through a giving heart, good things come and it's just the right thing to do," McClain said.

McClain and his coworker had just eaten lunch in Linn, so McClain had his extra lunch from home still with him.

He said he got out of his car, walked up to the man sitting on a park bench, and started giving the man food.

Jefferson City resident Mary Tighe was picking up her husband's dry cleaning and witnessed what was happening. She snapped a picture with her cellphone and posted it on Facebook.

Since then, hundreds of people shared her photo.

She said that one moment in time made her look at things a little different.

"I didn't have money on me that day or food, but would I have thought to stop and do that? It's a little thing to do and it obviously touched so many people," Tighe said. "I had no idea when I put that picture on there it was going to do what it did."

Staff Sgt. McClain said he didn't do it for recognition. Instead, he did it because it was the right thing to do.

"The coolest thing about the whole thing is, it sparked a whole conversation on the Facebook page, and how they don't pay attention to the needy," he said. "But, that is what we're called to do. We're supposed to lift up other people."

If you would like to help, you can get more information by contact ABC 17 News Reporter Daniel Winn.

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