Sometimes we think we can handle things ourselves. Other times, we need to rely on the power of our communities to push through.
No one knows this better than Ray Drake, a man who was brought to tears when he realized just how heartwarming it can be to have good neighbors during a time of need.
Relying on Family
In 1989, Drake became paralyzed. The Iowa man had family, however, and his two older sisters were there to help him get his life back on track and to navigate his new situation. For years the arrangement worked, and their love helped him during tough times.
Fast forward to August 2020, and powerful windstorms brought Iowa to a halt. There was devastating destruction in which 40% of the state’s crops were destroyed. People were left without power. Homes everywhere were banged up, and businesses were a mess. It was a rough time for so many.
According to KCCI, the storm left Drake with a particular problem. Trees had snapped all over his yard, and there was no way he could move them. The trunks were also too large for his sisters to clean up. The trio needed some serious help.
Reaching Out to the Community
After about a week, with power lines still down and people still trying to get their lives back together, Drake’s sisters decided to reach out for help. They called some of their brother’s old high school friends to see if any of them had a chainsaw they could bring over to start hacking up the logs.
One friend, Doug Applegate, assessed the damage and knew the family would need more than a chainsaw. He called the local high school to see if they could help. In about two hours, the entire football team was in Drake’s yard, helping to chop up the trunks and haul them away.
“That’s just what people in Iowa do,” a senior named Jackson Neary told a reporter. “We’re all friendly and help each other out.”
Drake couldn’t believe it. He was overcome with gratitude. He and his sisters thanked every single one of the players as tears fell from Drake’s face. “I’m blessed. I’m blessed,” was all he could say.
The Importance of Community
Everyone needs a community to rely on, whether it’s an online community of people who understand your specific needs or a physical community where people come together and overcome obstacles and threats. Often, we need both in our lives to feel supported, seen, and as though we belong.
That makes it important not only to reach out to your community and be an active part of it but also to ask for help when you need it. Coach a local team or volunteer your time with a group. Mow your neighbor’s lawn if you’re already out there, or shovel their driveway. Offer to watch a neighbor’s kid while they run to the grocery store.
There are all kinds of ways to participate in and enrich a community. Doing so won’t just guarantee that your own sense of wellness improves, but you’ll also help improve the lives of those around you.
And one day, if you need it, your community may also respond in unexpected and beautiful ways.
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