“Would you happen to know a family that would need help during this holiday season?” Suzanne asked me.
Suzanne, was famous at this farm. Her purple tresses, colorful tattoos, and love of children and horses, made her one of our favorite volunteers at this farm. She had just recently joined a motorcycle club that specialized in helping others, called HOGS TO HEROES. H- HONOROING, O- OUR, G-GIVING, S-SPIRIT, was a club made up of men and women that had one desire, to make this world a better place. Frequently escorting men and women returning home from military duty, assisting first responders, attending veteran events, and most importantly having fun helping others. They loved grandly, and it was evident in their fellowship amongst on another, and as Brian, their leader would say, they are family.
“Yes, I do,” I said, thinking immediately of a family of four very special needs children being raised by elderly grandparents. Money was tight, stress was evident, and their desire to do the best for these grandchildren resulted in money being spent for therapies. Their favorite and most successful therapy was equine therapy at my farm.
John, the oldest was mute, until he rode a horse. Now he says, “walk, whoa, trot, and games.” Isaiah, is very involved on a multitude of levels, and has a limited ability to tolerate frustration. But the horses have taught him patience, kindness, and most importantly how to bond in a relationship. Summerz, is a petite dark-haired beauty, that has little to no emotion due to trauma that she witnessed before the grandparents were able to adopt her. Last, is tiny Hannah with large blue eyes, and she is completely quiet, never speaking unless spoken to. But like her older siblings she has learned to trust a horse with her feelings.
I had no idea that nominating this family would have far-reaching effects on this farm, the surrounding community, and all that were involved in coordinating this event. We invited the family over to the farm on a mild-Sunday, the week before Christmas. We hid candy canes around the property for the children to find, until a fire-truck in the distance with its lights blaring led a brigade of HOGS TO HEROES riders and about twenty cars, followed by the brand-new ladder truck of our community. The children stopped what they were doing, distracted by the commotion coming down the street and streaming toward the farm. John started to sign his excitement. The other children stared silently, until Santa drove on his glistening Harley down the driveway.
I will never forget the look on the children’s faces as they tried to understand what was happening. That’s when HOGS TO HEROES took the gifts, which included bikes for each child, a hot pink battery-operated car, and toys into the house. The children gathered around Santa, and each gift was embraced and loved as this special family tried to understand a generosity never known before. While the children were distracted inside, the rest of the club piled gifts into my horse trailer that I would deliver before Christmas so that the grandparents would be able to give gifts to this very deserving family. The grand parents were even given gifts and gift cards to purchase whatever may be needed.
There were not many dry eyes that night, especially mine. It happens when kindness prevails even though never truly deserved. I was a witness to love unspeakable by strangers that have chosen to serve others.
It is even more poignant for a season marked by the Son of God coming to earth to save souls. This group of caring people chose to serve and help without even knowing this family. Then I realized they have learned a valuable lesson- It truly is better to give than to receive!
Thanks HOGS TO HEROES for helping this family in their dire need, but restoring in me hope. What a beautiful gift you have given to everyone touched by your generosity, love, and kindness!