PLYMOUTH, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A local community rallied together Saturday to support a beloved veteran and longtime caretaker of a sacred place.

U.S. Air Force Veteran Tom Jesso is a longtime caretaker of Shawnee Cemetery. Jesso has spent his life fighting for his country and the historic graveyard.

“He gives back to others every day. We wanted to show him how much we appreciate him and that we’re here for him as well,” said Alexis Eroh, President of Plymouth Alive.

Now, he has a new battle to fight.

Last November, Jesso was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer that quickly spread to his brain, thyroid, and above his kidney.

The town where Jesso grew up knew it had to help.

“I’m just so overwhelmed. I think I’m gonna have 15,000 people here today. It looks like it. I’m just so overwhelmed and so surprised,” Jesso added.

Members of Plymouth Alive hosted a benefit for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post-1425, filling up within minutes of its start time.

“The outpouring of support is exactly what I expected from the Plymouth community. This is the heart that this valley has and that this town has,” Eroh continued.

Jesso and his wife Ruth could not believe that their dedication to the historic cemetery could lead to this.

“We weren’t expecting it, you know? We just do what we do because we love what we do. Take care of the cemetery,” Ruth Jesso said.

All of the proceeds made from the benefit will go directly toward Tom’s battle against cancer. A war that Jesso is not willing to surrender to.

“So far, the brain, the lung, and the thyroid, the cancer cells disappeared,” continued Jesso.

Jesso has one round of chemotherapy to go, targeting an area near a kidney, after which, he hopes to go into remission.