Lloyd Jobson is used to doing things for other people, fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan during a 20-year career as a United States Marine.
On Monday, though – when a stranger handed Jobson $460 in cash and checks to help make up for the theft of Jobson’s hunting blind and other equipment from state land in Tuscola County’s Wells Township – tears welled in Jobson’s eyes.
“It’s a hard thing for me to do, because everything I’ve got I’ve had to work for, but to have people like you come forward is amazing,” said Jobson, 41, of Tuscola County’s Vassar Township, hugging Jeff Ford of Wells Township after Ford raised the money to lessen the financial hardship caused by the crime.
“When I told him what I was doing, he was extremely touched by it,” said Ford, 51, a retired Deckerville High School science teacher also known for his pursuit of a wolverine found in Michigan’s Thumb area in 2004. Ford used bait to feed the animal and eventually captured video and still photos of the wolverine, found dead in Sanilac County in 2010 due to congestive heart failure.
Jobson said he is a disabled veteran, retiring Aug. 1 after 20 years in the Marine Corps where he served three tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. He estimates the theft of his hunting items occurred Oct. 19 in the Tuscola State Game Area, near the spot where Cat Lake Road dead-ends to the north at Wells Road.
After Jobson discovered the theft, he nailed about 20 letters – covered in plastic – to trees. Jobson, a 1994 Vassar High School graduate, wrote that “we just want to make you aware that you took those things from a disabled veteran who served this country for 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, and his disabled wife.”
In his letter, Jobson suggested the thief or thieves could place the items back where they found them, or call him at 810-449-7673 to let him retrieve the items with “no questions asked.”
“If you don’t then I guess that you needed it more than we did, but know that you made this veteran’s life a little tougher so thank you for that,” concluded Jobson, who made sure each letter bore a multi-colored U.S. Marine Corps emblem.
Ford spotted the letter, and posted a photo of it on Facebook, with a question. “I said ‘I’m putting $50 toward this guy to buy him new gear; does anyone else want to step up to the plate and help out?’” Ford said.
Donors include John and Mari Young, Terri Metzger, Steve and Melissa Noble, Barbara Warren, Chad Sawyer, Barb Kennedy Beyer, Mark and Tracey Williams, Jac and JoAnn Ford, and Jeff and Amy Ford.
Jobson said the blind bore a blue-and-white placard indicating he is handicapped, along with his name and address on the blind. Jobson said he used the tripod “because both of my shoulders are so bad that I can’t hold my crossbow or my shotgun – I can still hunt but I just can’t hold those things.”
The crime disgusted Ford, who hunts regularly on the state land about five miles southeast of Caro.
“Knowing they were taking items from a handicapped person is about the worst of the worst,” Ford said. “It’s about as low as it gets. It’s bad enough to steal from someone who’s healthy, but I don’t think that if they knew he was a 20-year veteran of the armed services, it would have mattered. People like that, they don’t care.”
Ford calls the Tuscola State Game Area “a beautiful area if we can just get rid of the bad apples.”
“Three days prior to me finding this letter, a couple guys came after me out there at dark,” Ford said. “I think it’s the same guys that probably stole his stuff. I was coming out of the woods and they must have been upset that I was hunting in their area, and they came after me, and I pulled out an arrow.”
Ford said vehicle headlights were pointed toward him, but he wasn’t carrying a gun – it was bow-hunting season – and noted his pistol was in his truck.
“I threw my pack off and I got out an arrow and I held it out at them when they come at me, and they turned,” Ford said.
Ford said he eventually reached his pickup truck, “where I saw the same guys with their (vehicle) headlights pointed up on my truck.”
The two men drove away and Ford said he then entered his truck and drove it for about one-quarter mile before the truck quit running. He used a cell phone to call his wife, Amy, who picked him up.
The next day, after Bullet Auto workers towed the vehicle to their Caro business, a Bullet Auto employee “told me somebody poured five gallons of a sugar-water solution in your tank,” Ford said.
Repairs to the truck “cost me a few hundred dollars, and that damage would have been right after (Jobson) had his stuff stolen,” Ford said.
Jobson said he was shocked to make the 20-minute walk into the woods to find his hunting equipment stolen, “and then I was so angry I wanted to scream.”
Writing the letter and posting copies of it in the state game area “was a way to get my anger out, and it’s better for me to do that than to do something stupid where I’m going to get myself in trouble,” Jobson said.
Lloyd Jobson and his wife, Tawnya, have two children: Cierra Balula, a daughter, who is married to a Marine stationed in Jacksonville, North Carolina; and a son, Brandon Jobson, a student at Ferris State University. Lloyd Jobson said he wasn’t wounded in wars but noted “I do have a lot of problems (related to war).”
Hunting brings him happiness, though.
“I love to hunt, and I’ve hunted from the time I was able to hunt all the way up until the time I joined the service,” Jobson said. “The way I was raised, that’s what we do. We hunt to bring meat to the house.”
Jobson said he has removed most of the letters from the woods. When a reporter asked if The Advertiser could publish Jobson’s address for donors still wanting to help him following theft of his hunting gear, he agreed, but had other suggestions.
“Being a retired Marine, the Toys for Tots program is a big project of mine,” Jobson said. “I worked with it every year I was in the Marine Corps, and I was the coordinator twice for my division. They can donate to that, or people can donate to the Wounded Warrior Project.”
Those wishing to help Jobson directly may write a check to “Lloyd Jobson” and mail it to: Lloyd Jobson, 5632 Hasco Road, Millington, MI 48746.
The Marine urges others to battle problems with generosity.
“It is the holiday season,” Jobson said. “Go do that one good deed.”
Tom Gilchrist is a reporter for The Advertiser and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org