COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – William H. Cutler has been picking up pennies since 1984. Now, age 85, Cutler is donating his 50,000 pennies to House of Heroes.

Donating the pennies is something he has been wanting to do for a long time. Cutler said it him happy that he will get to help his fellow veterans.

“If I see a penny,” said Cutler. “I’ll pick it up and just kept doing it and this is what it came to all them years.”

Cutler is originally from Connecticut but joined the Army in 1955 and began basic training in Ft. Riley, Kan. Cutler served two tours in Vietnam, volunteering for the second.

In his 20-year career, Cutler was stationed at Ft. Benning for only one year, but after retiring as an E7 out of Ft. Riley in 1975, he came back to the Fountain City. He came back to be with his family.

He has been married to Marie Cutler for 64 years. Together they have three children. Their daughter, Patty Tidwell, and her children and grandchildren have helped him collect his pennies over the years.

Cutler has been collecting pennies for almost 40 years. When he picked up the first penny, he just kept collecting and let it add up. Every penny he picked up went into the jar. Once he reached $500, he began looking for an organization to donate to. He chose House of Heroes.

He never thought he would get to collect this much. The pennies were almost 300 pounds in weight.

He never knew donating could be so great, and he plans to do it again. Cutler says he is going to keep picking up pennies to keep donating. Some of his first pennies came from Germany. The oldest penny is from 1917.

“I earned them,” said Cutler, “but I’m giving them away.”

Cutler hopes that when he gets better medically that he can volunteer at House of Heroes. This generous donation will allow House of Heroes to build their 1,200th house here in Columbus.