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R.I. College Students Raise Thousands to Help Security Guard Visit Family in Nigeria: 'We Appreciate Him'

"He does not know how much we appreciate him, and hope that this shows to him how much he means to our community," said a student who organized the fundraiser

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A man who hasn't seen his family in over a decade is going to get the chance to do so — thanks to a group of college students in Rhode Island.

This semester, a group of Providence College students became friends with a security guard named James at the institution's Raymond Hall. After getting to know him, the students eventually found out that he hadn’t seen his family, including his son, in Nigeria in 11 years, so they decided to raise some money to help him do so.

A GoFundMe page was set up on Feb. 29 in order to raise travel expenses for James to travel home to Nigeria. In the fundraiser, the students detailed why James deserved the funds, highlighting his hardworking attitude and kind demeanor.

“For those of you that don't know James, he truly is one of the nicest people you will ever meet,” they wrote. “He greets everybody with a smile and always welcomes conversations no matter what time of the night you run into him… He does not know how much we appreciate him, and hope that this shows to him how much he means to our community.”

<p>gofundme</p> A photo of Providence College security Guard James, as seen on GoFundMe.

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A photo of Providence College security Guard James, as seen on GoFundMe.

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Freshman student Brandon Reichert, who helped organize the GoFundMe, told WCVB of James: "He's just the kindest soul anyone has ever met in this building. He means so much to us he's so important. It was amazing how fast everyone connected and were able to put it together for him.”

According to the outlet, the college students were able to raise $3,000 within 24 hours of setting up the GoFundMe, and, on March 6, the group of students eventually presented the money they collected to James.

In a later update on GoFundMe, the students included a photo of themselves presenting the money to the guard as he sat behind his desk. James appeared shocked as he held his hands up to his mouth.

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“Tonight we were able to gift James with enough money for him to travel to Nigeria to visit his family in June!,” Reichert wrote. “I’d like to thank everyone who donated as you can see what an impact you made on such an incredible man.”

"I mean I was fighting back tears," Sophomore Resident Advisor Daniel Singh, who was present when the students presented the funds, told WJAR of the moment.

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“What is so special is the impact James has had on all of us,” Dean of Students Steven Sears added to ABC 6 of James. “His reaction and the authenticity not only for this group and the students involved with him and the care, and what he said at the end is that he is praying for them, he is praying for their success, and that God watches over them and that he does that every day.”

Reichert shared that any further donations on the GoFundMe would be given to James at the end of the school year to fund further trips in the future to Nigeria. As of Saturday afternoon, the GoFundMe has raised over $15,000.

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