Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bridge Battle

This story touched me in so many ways. It gave me the opportunity to use my profession to put a spotlight on a need in the community, and I learned there are still so many good people willing to help others. I was blessed to meet Joe, a 79 year old Army vet, riddled with health problems, with an unwavering faith in God, and a big heart.

Joe lives in rural TN. His backyard is a mountain, his front yard a creek. A bridge allows Joe, his daughter and great grand daughter to travel over the creek to town. That is, until violent floods waters ripped it from it's perch, tossing it 300 feet downstream. I did two news stories on Joe, called veteran's organizations, local, state and federal officials before someone volunteered to help him.

The first time I met Joe, his daughter was forced to pull him across the creek in a fishing boat to go to his doctor's appointments, and she was riding with whoever would take her into town for groceries or whatever else they needed.

Nearly a month passed before the good news came. Joe called himself to tell me a KY man, who saw our news story, showed up on a Friday night to talk with him about repairing the bridge. Sunday morning he showed up with a crew, two cranes, and a back hoe to do the job, free of charge. What a blessing!

The first day I met Joe he broke my heart, standing before me with tears in his eyes. I wanted to build that bridge myself. He was most upset, not for himself even though he walks with 2 canes, has an artificial hip, and has a hard time getting around... but because he couldn't do the work himself. This proud man was broken because he couldn't help his daughter and 8 year old great grand daughter who live next door.

He told me he couldn't sleep at night, and he prayed God would send him some angels to help. He told me those 5 men who put the bridge back were the angels he'd been praying for. When we returned for the update, Joe gave me a gift I wasn't expecting, a big smile and a hug. I didn't do anything to deserve this, but my heart was full of joy for him.

The men who were giving enough to use their only day off, a Sunday, to help Joe will be blessed beyond measure too. Joe made me laugh that day too. When I asked him how he felt about the volunteers who did the work, he said, "Well, I have never worked much on a Sunday, unless I had to. It's the Lord's day, but I just couldn't tell those fellas to stop it. I had a need, a real bad need and I had prayed for their help!"

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful story Erica. Thank you for sharing it. It is so nice to hear a happy ending amongst the waves of not-so-happy ended stories. And, I am sure Joe knows God used you as one of his "angels" as well.