An At Home Healthcare Christmas Story
Each year At Home Healthcare puts an angel tree together allowing us to make a child’s Christmas a little brighter. Our pediatric nurses and therapists nominate deserving patients that would have little to no Christmas without our help. This year we had a very special angel named Faith.
Faith has been on services with us for a little over a year. She’s 13 yrs old and has a rare condition called Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome which leaves her vision and hearing severely impaired along with developmental delays. She requires physical, occupational and speech therapy. She and her father lived in a modest travel trailer in an RV park and lived a very simple life.
Faith was nominated for our angel tree and I quickly selected her to be my angel. While other kids were asking for play stations, xboxs and iphones, Faith’s simple requests were a brush and comb set and some sensory toys.
The following Sunday while Faith and her father, Troy, were at church their trailer caught fire due to an electrical short from their tv. Their trailer quickly ignited and everything was destroyed. They lost everything in just a few short minutes.
Their situation was brought to the attention of our owner, Doug Mehling, and without hesitation he and our executive team agreed this family needed more than what our Angel Tree had to offer. I was quickly advised to reach out to the family and find out what we could do to help – and do it!
Over the next few days I had frequent contact with Troy. He and Faith had established a new residence in a small 2 bedroom/1 bath duplex. Through the generosity of his employer and community several furniture donations were made to nearly furnish his entire home. But it was all the other necessities that a home needs that was missing. They had no refrigerator, no pots and pans, no plates, no silverware, no cooking utensils, no towels, no bed sheets, no Christmas tree, etc. They only had the clothes on their backs and their love for one another and appreciation that they weren’t in the trailer when it ignited.
I immediately began putting a list together of all the things they needed to make their house a home. Many conversations and tears were shared between the two of us. Troy is a humble and simple man and it’s out of his comfort zone to accept charity. He couldn’t believe our generosity and determination to make sure he and Faith were taken care of. I explained to him that At Home Healthcare is about family and our patients are an extension of our family, and we take care of family.
Without asking, I had employees giving me money to help purchase things for this family. Before I knew it, I collected $400 without even asking for it. His list of needs quickly became my shopping list!
I checked-out the Rogue and solicited some help from the office and went shopping. We were determined to get everything on his list – and we did with a little help from Amazon. The Rogue was stuffed and no longer allowed room for any passengers.
With much excitement I contacted Troy to coordinate delivery (more tears shed). He was just as excited to meet us as we were to meet him. Then 2 days later myself, Mindy McDaniel and Lori Chaney Scott went to deliver his gifts.
As we arrived and were welcomed in to their home, we met Faith. She immediately greeted us and due to her impaired vision, she relies on the feeling of touch to recognize and greet people. She began to touch our hands and wrists and latched on to any jewelry we were wearing as she found it very intriguing. She loved the Rogue keys which were hanging from my wrist attached to a rubber bracelet.
We brought in countless bags and boxes full of goodies to make their home complete, including a brand new Christmas tree and ornaments. Troy invited us to stay and help put up the tree and decorate with them and we were honored to do so. In typical fashion, assembling a Christmas tree did not come without frustration…“where does that plug-in?”, “wait, what’s this?”, “did anyone see where that black plastic thing went?”, but we persevered and got it set-up. The tree was beautiful and Faith sat content on the floor looking our direction in amazement.
I pulled Troy aside as Mindy and Lori began trimming the tree and gave him a folder. I explained to him more was coming. He gave me a perplexed look and began to tear up again and said “How? How? ‘Yall have done so much already? I just can’t believe this.” I opened the folder and showed him the paperwork for the new refrigerator that will be delivered to his home on Sunday. I also handed him $400 in gift cards. He stared back at me in disbelief and amazement as tears ran down his face.
I then began to explain that I purchased a few other items that he didn’t ask for. I purchased a welcome doormat, a wreath for his front door and some coasters that said “Home Sweet Home”. I told him that I purchased these things to make his home feel special. Our home is where our heart is and that’s where we take care of those we love most – our family.
I said “On behalf of At Home Healthcare, we want you and Faith to have a wonderful Christmas despite your recent tragedy. We want you to begin making new family memories in your new home.” He looked down at me and gave me a big bear hug and said “thank you so much”.
A few moments later Troy walks in holding an old black bible. He said “This is what my father gave to me as a young boy and I call this my “Starting Over Bible”. Inside I’m collecting various words of encouragement for Faith from those who have made an impact on her life. I’d like you all to please sign as you have made this Christmas so special for us. I plan to give this to Faith after I die one day”. Our hearts melted and our eyes filled with tears as we each signed the family heirloom to be passed down to Faith one day.
We finished trimming the tree and began to collect our things to head back home. Our hearts were filled with love and appreciation for all things especially what we had just experienced. Though we only spent an hour with Troy and Faith, the impact they made on our hearts is undeniable. Faith is a pretty fitting name for an Angel.
It was a privilege to meet this special family and make their Christmas a little brighter. It’s an honor to work for a company that’s so invested in family (employees and patients) and making a difference. May we all remember what’s really important in life and the opportunities we have to make a difference. May everyone have a wonderful New Year filled with love and family.
P.S. – Troy texted the next day and said Faith sat on the floor in front of the Christmas tree and starred at it for 2 hours.