(Originally published on Sept. 19, 2021.)By David Schuman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota veteran who’s become a social media sensation is using his newfound fame to help other veterans.

Kenny Jary, a Navy veteran from Willernie in Washington County, has amassed more than 650,000 followers on TikTok, who know him as “Patriotic Kenny.”

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“I’m happy and I’m happy with everybody,” Jary said. “I try to be that way and I love to be more than happy with other people that I can talk to and maybe make their day.”

Amanda Kline, Jary’s neighbor, helped create the account. The videos don’t have fancy edits or effects; as Jary likes to say, it’s just him being a common guy.

Jary wears his heart on his sleeve, too, as his followers learned this week in a video that’s since been viewed more than 10 million times. He broke down when he found out a GoFundMe had raised $5,000 to replace his beloved, but broken, mobile scooter.

Kenny Jary (credit: CBS)

“I could not believe it,” Jary said. “I laid on the floor and just bawled because I’m an emotional person, so I’m so happy.”

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The GoFundMe is now up to more than $90,000.

“I can’t imagine,” Jary said. “I ain’t got words for that. To me? I won the lottery and then some.”

After the new scooter, Jary plans to get some dental work, pay off debt, and help others, too.

“We have plans to give back to some veterans, but we haven’t announced it yet what the details are,” Kline said. “But it’ll be good.”

Kline teaches middle school at Metro Deaf School in St. Paul. Many of Jary’s videos feature a friend of his who is Deaf.

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Click here to visit Jary’s GoFundMe page.

David Schuman