ASHLAND -- Because of Deborah Liebert Karl's generosity at least one Ashland University student veteran will be able to go home for Christmas.
On Friday afternoon at Uniontown Brewing Company, the Ashland University alumna would give away $200 Target gift cards to each of AU's 186 student veterans as a "thank you" for their service.
"It was something I wanted to do. They've served our country. They've given up a portion of their lives to protect us... It's something I can do in return," said Karl, who graduated in 1972 and now resides in Powell.
She's always had a heart for veterans. Her father served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and enlisted in the Korean War.
She learned student veterans do not receive money through the military when they are not on campus
"They don't get paid when they are on Christmas break or Spring break. Only when they're in classes," Karl said.
Last year, she presented student veterans with Amazon gift cards. This year, the gift cards were from Target.
"Thank you for your service. What year are you," Karl asked one student, as she handed her a gift card.
She was a freshman. Another student told her he was working towards his Masters. But the comment that struck her most was the student who said he'll now be able to travel home for the holidays.
"That's why I do it," Karl said.
Ashland University senior, Adam Darlak served in the Navy as a nuclear operator from 2006 to 2010. He's now studying at AU to become a high school teacher.
"I'm dumbfounded because she also did this last year for us," he said. "It means a lot to me."
While he's already bought most of his Christmas presents, he believes the $200 will be helpful after the holidays.
Karl's heart for veterans doesn't stop at this though. She is the donor behind AU's soon-to-come Military Veterans Resource Center. It will be dedicated to her father, Jack W. Liebert.
"They've experienced things that a typical 18 year old freshman hasn't, and it'll give them a space to be together," she said.