Missing veteran found through Facebook post

Missing veteran found through Facebook post

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The reach of Facebook is powerful.  Thanks to our FOX 35 Facebook followers, a 59-year-old Army Veteran is safe and warm again tonight after being reported missing.

It all began with a post on our FOX 35 Facebook page.  After the Marion County Sheriff's Office contacted us, we implored you to help locate Daniel Hardy. 

The people he had been renting a room from reported him missing on Monday night.  You may recall that Monday night was a cold night in Central Florida.  It was that night that Hardy turned up at the Holiday Inn Express in Lady Lake.

Hotel General Manager Dave Murdock told us, "Mr. Hardy asked if he could stay in a room until he got finances."

And Murdock opened his door immediately, allowing Hardy to hang out in the breakfast area until he could find him some help.   Hardy is disabled and under special care.

Murdock showed us the room and the couch where Hardy hung out for three days and says, "We got him a blanket and pillow and he was good to go."

Once we posted a missing person alert on our Facebook page, thousands of our friends shared Hardy's picture and commented.  It was Jennifer Tipton, the desk clerk at the very hotel where Hardy was staying, who finally made the connection.  She's on our Facebook page regularly.

Tipton said, "He told me his name, and I could have just fell to the floor back here, because I was like, 'Oh, goodness, this guy!  There's a missing person and he's standing right here."

She notified police, and they notified Hardy's family.

"I thought it was pretty awesome that just a simple post that was shared by so many on Facebook allowed us to be able to connect him back, reunite with him with his son, and get him the help he needs," said Hardy's Tipton.

Tonight, Hardy is still at the Holiday Inn, awaiting transfer to a VA shelter.  His son took him out for lunch, brought him clothing, and told us that he's grateful and relieved.

And this veteran, though obviously going through a tough time, has a very clear opinion of his current predicament.

"I appreciate everything anybody ever did for me, because I wouldn't have nothing if nobody ever gave me nothing."

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