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Examiner
  • Tinkering around is an act of charity

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  • Sam and June are some amazing people. They have to be the most giving people in the state of Missouri. I had the pleasure of driving to their home, south of Kansas City, this past Saturday.
    How I met these remarkable people is not a just coincidence.
    A year ago, I heard from a friend about a huge community Christmas party in southwest Missouri. My friend mentioned how wonderful it was because everything was free. Most of the gifts were made by a woodworker named Sam. Thinking of my special needs' persons, and Bingo night, I asked my friend to help me find Sam.
    I quickly learned that Sam builds hundreds of wooden toys, air planes, trains, doll cradles, doll high chairs, rocking horses, anything that can be built from wood, and then . . . gives them away to those who are needy, poor, or lonely.
    All year long, Sam works in his garage, which has been converted to a wood shop. He works on these precious gifts nearly daily.
    When I first entered Sam's garage I was shocked. The walls and floor were spilling over with toys and gifts, all made from wood and waiting for delivery. The garage was a small representation of the North Pole.
    Honestly, I have never seen anything like this before.
    That day I met Sam and June was a day I cannot forget. This delightful couple live in a humble home, where they spend every day, thinking of how they can serve others. I'm sure they live on a fixed budget. I know they have multiple family challenges, too.
    And June is no less industrious. She collects dolls, washes them and their clothes, and then re-dresses them. She makes them look new. June crafts jewelry and hair accessories. You'd think the items June was making were for her children and grandchildren.
    But they are not. They are for the thousands of people who are fortunate to come in contact with Sam and June and their generosity. I don't think either one of them sleep at night.
    This past Saturday, I was inspired once again, by their charity.
    They invited me inside. Their home was warm and cozy. The fireplace was on. They had some of the gifts inside, which they were currently working on.
    This wonderful couple serves adults, too. They donate homemade gifts to be raffled for meals for the elderly and the disabled. They give gifts to cancer victims and hospitals. They bless lives in nursing and group homes. They travel around the Midwest, delivering their goodwill to many charities and fundraisers.
    Sam was excited to donate several bags of handmade gifts to Company of Champions for Bingo tomorrow evening.
    After loading the car, Sam showed me a large wooden rocking horse, which he made to be raffled for a family in need. He had the horse in the back of his van, ready to be delivered.
    Page 2 of 2 - When I asked him what he charged to make the horse, he stated, “Nothing.”
    Then he finished his sentence. “You know Diane, I could be golfing, fishing, spending money, or time, on something for myself . . . but I don't want to do that. I love to give to others.”
    While I was listening to Sam, I saw June's eyes well with tears. She smiled and whispered, “He makes me cry when he says these things.”
    I believe November should not just be an, “’I am thankful for’ month.” I believe we should do an act of service every day during November. That is the best way to express thankfulness to Him.
    Then we become like Him, faithful, always serving others, just like Sam and June.
    Diane Mack is coordinator of Putting Families First, Jackson County’s Family Week Foundation. Email her at jacksoncountyfamilyweek@yahoo.com or visit www.jacksoncountyfamilyweek.org.
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