Thursday I was on the phone with my Mom...not usually a blog worthy event. However, she was telling me about a fundraiser our restaurants had participated in. As I listened, I got chills thinking about how that spirit that permeated during World War Two might not be gone after all.
At the end of January a family in North Platte was devastated when the mom and two young girls were killed in a car accident. The little boy spent a month in different hospitals being treated for head and other injuries.
This family had touched all segments of North Platte. Whether from church, being active in the community, eating in restaurants four times a week, the tragedy really left the town reeling... and my brother and friend wanting to do something to help.
Eventually they talked Dad into doing a fundraiser at our two North Platte Runzas. Then they talked the radio station into free announcements every half hour for four days, stories and announcements in the Telegraph and on KNOP-TV. Then they hoped to raise enough to give the family $1000 to help with expenses.
They prepared, thinking business might double -- but the good folks of North Platte had been waiting for a way to help. One story tripled sales and the other quadrupled. People filled the donation boxes with additional money. All in all $4000 was raised in one day for this family.
Are you feeling the chills?
And this isn't the only example. The father works for Union Pacific railroad. Fortunately, he has good medical insurance, but he has had to use up all his vacation time so he could be in Kearney and Denver with his son. So the men he works with have been donating their vacation time to him so that he has continued to receive a paycheck during this entire period.
Then there's the person from the Telegraph who called the Broncos and let them know that this boy and his family are huge Broncos fans. So the Broncos sent a box of Broncos gear. That seems like a good response. Then the organization made a donation to the family. Equally enough. But then on the little boy's eighth birthday, John Elway had lunch with him at the Denver hospital -- far away from media exposure. Just because it was a good thing to do. You see this little boy's name is Jonathan Elway Hastings. The Hastings are those kind of fans.
This is what it's about. Seeing a need and finding ways to help meet that need. Reaching out to people who are desperately hurting and letting them know that they aren't alone.
And every time I begin to think we've lost the ability to feel and respond deeply, I hear a story like this. And then I hope again.