Army veteran who had all belongings stolen during move to Bay Area now has new hope

PETALUMA, Calif. (KGO) -- An Army veteran who had lost almost all hope after a U-Haul full of his possessions was stolen while moving to the Bay Area now has a reason to smile thanks to the generosity of his new community.

We first met Jonathan Munoz a little over one week from Veteran's Day at his dark, nearly empty one-bedroom apartment in Petaluma.

He and his wife, Raquel had just moved from Las Vegas so he could take a job with the VA Hospital in San Francisco. But on the last day of their hotel stay in Pleasanton, something nearly derailed their plans to move.

"I went outside and the U-Haul was gone." Said Jonathan, tears welling up in his eyes.

Jonathan, who is also disabled, nearly gave up on his Bay Area dream.

"Honestly, we were thinking about going back to Vegas."

But fast-forward to today, just about two weeks after our first encounter, and we are meeting Jonathan at an IKEA in East Palo Alto. He doesn't quite know what is about to happen when he reaches the top of the escalator.

There, James Brown, the president of the non-profit Wine Country Marines has a surprise in store.

"You've got $5,000 dollars cash and shopping today! We reached out to our network and started getting donations, cash, gift cards, and furniture!" smiles James as he hands Jonathan some of the donations.

He continues, "As soon as we heard about him everyone was there to support him because it could have happened to any one of us."

One of Jonathan's biggest donors is Valiance Wines. The owners lost their home in the Tubbs fire but still wanted to give.

"When we lost our home there's a real empathy and the additional fact he's a veteran is just incredible." Says Von Hurson, standing beside her husband, Jim.

"The winery was founded specially to help veterans. So we donate 100% of our profits to veterans programs."

In addition, each bottle is named after someone who has served.

While the donations won't replace Jonathan's bronze star or the items with sentimental value, Jonathan has something new.

"We're starting our new lives and we have these new friends and new communities and partnerships."

Jonathan also has renewed hope, to pay it forward.

"I feel so much love and support. I want to be one of those people to help the next one for sure."

IKEA made today possible with a $1,000 donation and free shipping so Jonathan could go shopping and receive his furniture right away.

Click here to learn more about Valiance Wines and about Wine Country Marines.
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