Last spring, we had some really bad weather pass through our area. Several storms knocked over many large, old trees and downed power lines across the region. There was so much rain that the ground grew soft and roots were loosened. Many of the storms brought lightning shows and roaring thunder. One particular storm brought a lightning strike that hit the air conditioning unit attached to our house. The jolt burned our fuse box and destroyed our home’s heat/air system. After the resulting insurance claim, our deductible almost doubled.
This June, a sixty-foot-tall oak tree landed on the Springfield, Virginia home of Elissa Myers during a deadly storm that killed two people and caused massive damage to the community. When he saw the damage to his neighbor’s home, eight-year-old Johnny Karlinchak emptied his piggy bank and gave his life savings ($1.25) to Mrs. Myers.
“I lost many, many things that day. But things did not make me cry. The overwhelming kindness of Johnny did.” – Mrs. Elissa Myers
Although he's only eight years old, Johnny knows what it means to give back to his community. He remembers what it was like to have neighbors that pitched in to help out when his sister died in a car accident more than four years ago. When he learned that Mrs. Myers’ deductible was $500 ... far more than his $1.25 ... he set up a lemonade stand and began earning more money to help because he recognized a chance to give back. On his first day, he earned $21.00 toward his goal and he quickly earned enough money selling lemonade and cookies to pay his neighbor’s deductible.
Weather-related tragedies can be frightening and repairs can be expensive. Every community and neighborhood should have someone like Johnny to inspire kindness and remind us of the importance to "pay it forward".
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