So many emotions wash over me when I think of service. So many joyous memories gladden my heart.
I remember grandparents including me on their trips so that I would feel loved and cherished. I think of clerks with unknown names who have gone out of their way to provide me with great service. I smile as I think of teachers – both at school and at church who went the extra mile and who made sure that their students had both a name and an understanding of their worth. Memories of my father and his service to individuals I do not know come to mind. Professionals who worked tirelessly in behalf of my granddaughter gamer a special niche in that place within my heart. And, in addition to the numerous happy memories which hide in the recesses of my mind are the recollections of times with my sweetheart and family, so many of them filled with moments of thoughtfulness and acts of service.
I came across a young couple in my local hospital just a few weeks ago. I continue to think of them. I rode an elevator with that young couple. They had a seven month old baby boy in a stroller – their son. This couple was not from my hometown of Billings. They were from Bozeman. I don’t know all of the circumstances of their dilemma but I know that they started out in a hospital in Denver, Colorado and then got transferred to the hospital in Billings. Their baby boy smiled sweetly at me; his upper lip carved with two surgical scars. He had a tracheotomy – oxygen was being fed to him through his throat. I assume this sweet little guy was born in Denver under much duress. His parents shared that he had already been through two open heart surgeries in his short lifetime. They also shared that they had not been home for seven months. That means seven months of the smells and sterile cold walls of hospitals, agonizing over the health of their little guy, and no opportunity to find true rest and respite at home.
Every so often, I like to take items to our local Ronald McDonald House. What I bring is never very much and the effort required is small on my part. As I learned that this couple was staying at the Ronald McDonald house in Billings, My heart did a double take. Most of the time, my little stops at the Ronald McDonald house are made with little or no knowledge of the residents that are being housed there. All of a sudden, I felt guilty for being so aloof. What if I had taken the time to be more in tune with the personal needs of the residents? If I had, could I have lifted the burden this sweet couple had been carrying for a very long seven months? Calculate that into hospital time and you have what feels like lifetime.
That experience of just a few minutes has carried with me. I can’t do everything but I can do something. We all can do something!
As you read today’s inspiring story, think about how you could make a difference. No money has to be spent – time could be spent sitting with a loved one so their caretaker can have a break. Stories can be read to children. Even sharing patience instead of a grumpy scowl counts! I hope you enjoy today’s story – I also hope it inspires each of us to be a little more mindful of others that we share this world with!
A Family Saved
Lt. Bobby Qualls was shopping when he received a text message: Fire on Beechmont, one-story house, child trapped inside. “I was picking out gifts for the family our engine house adopted for Christmas,” remembers Qualls, who has been fighting fires in Memphis for 24 years. “I had this sinking feeling as I got in my car and headed over.”
The last time Qualls had been on Beechmont Street was to install smoke detectors at the Bateman-Tubbs home. He’d been on a secret mission to see if they needed an extra boost during the holidays. There he discovered that the four Bateman-Tubbs children were sleeping on bare mattresses, and he found two of the boys playing outside in 30-degree weather with no shoes or coats.
Qualls learned that Leonard Tubbs was doing his best to make ends meet laying floors while Kimberly Bateman stayed home with the kids.
“When Bobby told me his team wanted to be Secret Santas and buy my kids toys, at first I thought we didn’t need any help,” Bateman recalls. “It really touched me. I told him what the kids really needed was warm clothes.”
That’s exactly what Qualls was shopping for on December 9, 2008: winter jackets for Christopher, seven; JoJo, four; Madison, one; and two-month-old Charles. While driving over to Beechmont Street, he dialed Bateman’s cell phone. She answered on the first ring, screaming, “The house is on fire—JoJo’s trapped inside!”
By the time Qualls reached the house, the family had gotten out, but their home was severely damaged. His coworkers had found JoJo hiding under a pile of clothes in a back bedroom. He had stopped breathing and had been given CPR and rushed to the hospital. Qualls learned that JoJo was now on life support and might not make it through the night. He rushed to the hospital with Lt. Mark Eskew, who placed a stuffed teddy bear in a firefighter’s suit on JoJo’s bed.
“I just kept praying my little boy would open his eyes,” Bateman recalls. “There was nothing else I could do. They were pumping soot as black and thick as tar out of his lungs and stomach for days.”
After a few days, though, JoJo regained consciousness, and the tubes were taken out of his throat. While he began to slowly recover, the local newspaper and TV stations got hold of the story, and the Secret Santa mission of Qualls and his fellow firefighters snowballed. Before long, the fire station was overflowing with boxes of toys, food, toiletries, towels, and clothes. People called, wanting to donate furniture and appliances too. By December 23, Bateman and Tubbs had moved their kids into a new rental home. By Christmas Eve, JoJo was ready to leave the hospital, and the firefighters were ready to deliver the family their very own Christmas miracle.
“These guys aren’t just firefighters,” says Bateman, “they’re our guardian angels. If they hadn’t installed a smoke detector that first day they came to our house, we wouldn’t have known when the fire started. Then they went the extra ten miles to give us a Christmas.”
Story shared from the following website: http://www.rd.com/true-stories/inspiring/5-stories-that-celebrate-the-spirit-of-giving/2/
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