While the winter season is a great time to enjoy the luxury of a wood-burning fire, for one veteran, it isn't a luxury, but a necessity.
According to the Idaho Statesman, a retired veteran and his wife who live in Emmett, Idaho, rely on her Social Security for income and on wood as their sole source of heat for their home. However, as temperatures dropped, they found themselves without any wood.
So, John Eigen, director of the Joshua M. Tillery Memorial Fund, which provides help to veterans in need, reached out to a local radio station and radio personalities Kevin and Brenda Mee made an appeal to listeners.
Through the grapevine, the Mees found a property that would provide five trees' worth of wood, and with the help of the city, identified the owner as Roger Beckham. After an on-air plea, his son called and informed them his father was 100 percent on board, and from there, the Emmett resident troops mobilized.
Beckham donated roughly $1,500 worth of wood and said, “I like to think the reason I kept this wood was for this purpose.”
Eigen told the Idaho Statesman that he expected about eight people to come and help chop, and haul the wood, but became emotional when he saw more than 50 people come to volunteer.
“This is how Emmett works,” resident Jessica Giddeon explained. “This is how small towns are supposed to work.”
Brenda added that although not everyone has the means to help someone financially, everyone can “work” and as a result of the group effort, the veteran and his wife have two to three years' worth of wood.
“What a radio station and word-of-mouth can do is amazing,” Eigen explained. “I cannot believe the number of people who are here.”
The Joshua M. Tillery Memorial Fund is in honor of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua M. Tillery who was shot down in Iraq on January 26, 2009, while piloting a helicopter. He left behind a wife and four sons.
According to the Facebook page, the fund provides “financial and moral support to our veterans, active duty members, and their families faced with the stress of multiple deployments, mounting unemployment, and increasing medical and psychosocial needs.”