Stories of Impact
So many things keep us from serving others. Life is so busy that we often don’t recognize the needs of others. We don’t feel it’s our place to get involved. Or we are afraid that we will “get taken” by someone less than honest about their needs. The Hoss Foundation is important because it derails some of those doubts and calls on people to get involved. The result is that needs are met and hearts are nurtured. My husband and I helped with the demo of the Smith house for the Days of Hope Project. Like so many of the people who showed up to work in the pouring rain, we did whatever job came along. I removed nails, hammered apart walls, and stacked lumber for reuse. Aaron, who was once a carpenter, not only worked hard, but also took the time to teach others how to do the job efficiently and safely. Scores of people worked in the cold rainy weather for a family that most of them probably didn’t know. I’ve never met the Smiths, I don’t know them, but what I do know is that this family is facing an unexpected and terribly difficult situation. And while the skill levels differed among the workers, they all had willing hearts. Never deny any person an opportunity to serve because not only does it aid the recipient, but it also grows humility and character in those serving. The Hoss Foundation provided the Smith family with a home addition they urgently need and fertile soil for hearts to grow.
During Christmas last year, Nathen and I were staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Morgantown. It was a stressful time because our son was in the hospital and we were away from home. The Hoss Foundation showed us that even though we weren't spending the holidays at home, Christmas could still come to us with cheer. The Foundation touched our hearts and made an impact on how Christmas wasn't just about gifts but about sharing, and they provided us a sense of relief during that stressful time. It was like Santa had come. They shared their Christmas with us even though we were complete strangers, opening their hearts to us without judgment. They also showed concern for what we were going through and treated us like family. The Hoss Foundation members were caring and showed love and understanding. We will forever remember the happiness that we felt and will remain grateful for the kindness they showed us. Thank you for a wonderful Christmas!
SheBeck, Nathen, and Baby Colton
The Hoss Foundation meant the world to me! They were so selfless to provide the tangible gifts for my two boys and me for Christmas. I was faced with the difficult decision to take one of my twin boys off life support, so I was broken and unable to celebrate during the gift- giving ceremony. I was so blessed when they came to my room, embraced me, and prayed along with me. They heard my heart cry to Jesus and interceded with me. I am so thankful for the Hoss Foundation!!!!!!
*Jessica Stocker – parent of twins Kingston Chambers and Julian Chambers born on October 29, 2008. Julian passed away on December 20, 2008.
Millie Davis (delivery #1)
I was assigned four deliveries in the Fairmont area. All along, even before I made phone contact with any of the recipients, I wondered what I would say...and how I would say things. So after some silent practice I called my first recipient, Millie, and told her, "Hi, my name is Allen...and I'm a volunteer for the Hoss Foundation." I asked her what day and time would be convenient for me to deliver the gifts. She told me Thursday would be fine, as long as I made it there before 4:30 p.m. I said I'd be there, and if I couldn’t make it for some reason, I’d call her back because I didn't want to just drop off the gifts, jump back in my car, and scurry to the next address. I was nervous and kept thinking back to something Astronaut Alan Shepard said: "Oh Lord, please don't let me screw up." When I delivered that afternoon, it was snowing like crazy! The streets were slick in Fairmont and traffic was backed up everywhere and moving slowly. I found the address; it was an older, wood-sided, two-story home that had been converted to 3–4 apartments. It was a long climb up steep, snow-covered stairs from the street to the house. Millie answered the door, and I said "Merry Christmas from the Hoss Foundation." She was very grateful, gave me a big hug, and said her child Xavier would be so happy. It is a heartwarming moment to give a gift and see that person just light up. Also, I am honored to represent the foundation.
When Denise Matlick and her family visited the home of her adoptive family, the father was waiting at the door. He was the only one home since he wanted the gifts to be a surprise from Santa Claus for his seven- and eight-year-old sons. After hiding the gifts in the basement, the father politely expressed his appreciation for their generosity. Denise asked him if he went to church; however, he told her he was unable to attend since he worked on Sundays. She then invited him and his family to the service on Christmas Eve at Chestnut Ridge Church. The Matlicks left after wishing the father a Merry Christmas, claiming that they were very blessed to be part of the Gift Project and look forward to participating again next year.
Pat Lowe and her husband know what it’s like to struggle, having received help themselves in the past, so it was nice to be able to give back to the community that had helped them before in their time of need. The family the Lowes visited seemed uncomfortable at first, but when they saw the large bags of gifts they were more welcoming and asked the Lowes into their home. Pat commented on the lovely nativity the family had and invited them to services at Chestnut Ridge Church. After the visit, Pat claimed that she believed her children had gotten more out of the Gift Project than the family who received the gifts. Her two children were involved in the entire family adoption from start to finish. They shopped one day and wrapped the next, with her daughter wrapping seven bags of gifts. On delivery day her children were nervous, but they gained a whole new appreciation for what they have, and were happy to see they could help others who were less fortunate.
Natalie Hill and her family delivered gifts to the grandparents’ home, and were greeted at the door by the grandparents and the father of the family for whom they had shopped. Conversation came easy and it was a time of joy and excitement for everyone. The Hills noted that the family members were humble and thankful that someone had thought of them during the holiday season in their time of need. Natalie shared with the family that anything is possible through God, and she invited the family to the Christmas Eve service at Chestnut Ridge Church. The adoptive family requested that the Hills pray for the father, who had lost his job and was desperately looking for another one, so the visit ended with a group prayer for the entire family.
Dave and Regina White used their gift-giving experience as an opportunity to share the importance of God in their lives. In addition to the gifts, they handed out spiritual literature and discussed finding a home church for the family. The mother of the adoptive family mentioned that she had never even heard of the Hoss Foundation until her cousin told her that the organization might be able to help her bring Christmas joy to her children that year. The family was very grateful and requested that the Whites pray for the father who had recent heart surgery and anticipates additional surgeries in the future. As the two families exchanged goodbyes with a handshake and happy smile, the Whites admitted they felt as if they were the ones who received blessings from this experience.
This was the second consecutive year the Wattersons had participated in the Gift Project. When the team visited their HF family, the parents were very polite and grateful but also rather distant. The Wattersons think their silence was due to them being overwhelmed by the experience and therefore, somewhat speechless. In addition to their gifts, the family made a request for the health of their loved ones and for a joyful Christmas. The Wattersons greatly enjoyed the visit and plan to participate as long as Jeff Hostetler/HF is willing to participate also. They said that it will become a family tradition as “an expression of our gratitude for God’s blessing upon our lives!”