Last December, we asked the Omaha community to nominate a family in need to receive free tree care services for our first annual "Gift of Beautiful Trees" charity program. We received many nominations, and it was heartwarming to hear so many stories of generosity and neighbors helping neighbors. It was so difficult to pick one winner that we ended up selecting TWO families to receive free services.
The winner, whom we shall call 'D' for all intents and purposes, was a wounded war veteran. He was anonymously nominated by a neighbor, who noticed he had some dangerous dead trees in his yard, as well as some dead limbs hanging directly over the wheelchair ramp leading up to his front door. We knew right away we had to help D.
I stopped by the job site to snap some photos of the crew working and D's wife called me inside to chat. I wasn't expecting to walk into the living room filled with BEAUTIFUL hand-carved wooden model cars and trucks. This was D's hobby, pride and joy, as he was wheelchair bound. D insisted I take one of his model cars home as a token of gratitude. His gift was awesome, but what I enjoyed most was hearing how D was so overcome with joy that his neighbors nominated him for this project. He explained that for years, he used his riding mower to tend to his neighbors' lawns until his body just couldn't handle it anymore. We shed tears of joy together; his tears were of gratitude toward us and his neighbors, and my tears were of gratitude that Jeff and I have a gift to share with the people of our community, in turn making it a better place. It's not just tree trimming we were giving away; it's peace of mind, it's pride in your home, it's thinking of those around you and taking care of your neighbors. There are good people in this world.
I hope this story inspires YOU to think about the gifts you have to offer those around you. It doesn't matter if they're big or small, complex or easy, costly or free. Being generous with your time and talent is what truly makes this world a better place.
~ Amy Grewe
Scroll down for the before and after!
'D' and M, with the hand-carved model truck he gave us as a token of gratitude.