Good people … they are everywhere, but sometimes we fail to notice them because they are too busy to toot their own horn, and they are overshadowed by so much noise on a day-to-day basis. I recommend you grab your box of tissues, Gronda, for I needed a box just to write these stories.
Luis Ocampo is an Army medic currently serving with the National Guard in North Carolina. Naturally, his services were much-needed last month in the wake of Hurricane Florence, and Luis was called out to help those in need. He was on duty for several days without returning home, and when he did return home, it was to find that his home had been ransacked and robbed.An aside here … what kind of a person does it take, in the middle of a disaster when thousands are suffering, to do this?
His girlfriend and one-year-old son were staying with his parents in Luis’ absence, so the house was unattended. Gone were all their electronics, coins and jewelry, and even the refrigerator! His girlfriend, Kailey Finch, posted on Facebook, asking if anybody had seen anything that could help them identify the vandal/robber, and a friend, Mary Elise Capron saw the post. While most of the commenters offered well-wishes and condolences, Mary Elise took an extra step and set up a GoFundMe account with the goal of raising $5,000 for Luis & Kailey to help them replace some of the stolen items.
Within days, the account reached nearly $15,000 as 400 people reached out to the couple and reached into their wallets. Heartwarming, yes? But that isn’t the best part. Luis, overwhelmed by the generosity of so many, despite many having their own troubles in the wake of the hurricane, gave most of the money away! He donated the funds to the Soldiers and Airmen Assistance Fund, and also to a fellow guardsman who has been homeless since a tree fell on his home during the hurricane.
“A big part of wanting to give the donations comes from seeing how generous people have been, and I wanted to pay that back to someone else who needed help. We’re very happy none of us are hurt.”
Now folks … doesn’t that warm your heart and restore your faith in humanity?
Jarete Hucks owns a 70-room motel in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, called the Midtown Inn and Cottages. When Hurricane Florence hit, Mr. Hucks opened the doors of his inn to all those in need of shelter. In the first few days after Florence hit, he already given away some $50,000 worth of goods and services, but it doesn’t end there! People heard what he was doing and started volunteering everything from diapers and ice to food and new shoes — even haircuts!
Grab another tissue and watch …
It seems that troubles may be the thing that brings out the best in people, yes?
Florence Wisniewski, better known as just “Flo”, lives in Chicago. Last month, Florence was surprised by hearing her name … her full name, not her nickame … over and over again on television. Her mom Tricia Wisniewski explained to Flo that everyone was talking about a hurricane named Florence and showed her pictures of the storm — flooded neighborhoods and people in shelters.
“I showed her one picture of a family staying in a high school hallway and told her this is all they have, here in the hallway with their baby. Flo said matter-of-factly that we should send them diapers or toys, like that was just common sense!”
Flo didn’t much like sharing her name with something so evil that hurt so many. Little Flo’s enthusiasm and generosity motivated not only her own family, but their entire neighborhood. Her dad, Paul, made a donation sign, showing the hurricane’s path but with Flo’s face over the spiraling clouds, and her brother Bud pulled a wagon door-to-door collecting donations to send to the hurricane victims.
What started with a small girl’s desire to protect her good name … grew and GREW …
“I thought that would be it. We would fill a few boxes and Florence would feel good about her name. But a Facebook post got around and then the local news got involved, and now we are getting donations from around the country.”
The family’s two-car garage was soon filled to overflowing, and the problem became … how to get all this stuff to the people who needed it in the Carolinas. The problem was solved when Mathew 25 Ministries offered to add the donations the Wisniewskis had collected to their own truck that was heading down south filled with donations they had collected.
Florence didn’t even mind that in the heat of the moment, with the buzz of activity in trying to get everything packed and ready to go, her birthday rather got overlooked. She figured the packing tape somebody brought by was a good enough gift for now … the birthday can wait.Her mom is, needless to say, proud. What she had hoped would be a teachable moment for her daughter about helping others became a larger lesson, and a storm of goodwill in its own right.
I love doing these posts. Sometimes it’s hard to get a start, for I am mired in the everyday muck of the world, but once I find just the right good person, I focus on that person or people and the world fades away for a short time. I hope these stories warmed your heart and helped the world to fade away for a bit. Have a great day!