Rutherford was the kind of man who went about quietly helping others. He did odd jobs throughout the part of the county where he lived. A man of few words, he often helped the elderly and disabled — unpaid and unsung. But then Rutherford had a massive heart attack and, still in his 50s, was rendered disabled himself. Living in an older family home, where the primary source of heat is a woodstove, he was now unable to cut and haul his own firewood.
Fortunately, Rutherford has a good friend. Ginny has her own home as well and, like Rutherford, busies herself helping others. So, when she heard of his heart attack, Ginny became his chauffeur to and from medical appointments and an advocate to garner community support.
Early on, she was on the phone with the Department of Social Services (DSS) trying to get Rutherford food stamps and other emergency assistance. Ginny started calling churches for firewood, and that was how Love INC was put in touch with Rutherford. The kind folks at one of the local churches called to let us know that Ginny had asked them for wood. They were willing to assist, but wanted to make sure the need was legitimate.
After speaking with the DSS case worker, our Love INC staff realized that this was indeed a dire and emergency situation and relayed that information to the church. With that assurance, they provided the money to purchase wood for Rutherford, but $100 worth of wood — a pickup truck full — wouldn’t last very long during frigid conditions.
So, the Love INC staff asked the wood ministry from Ivy Creek United Methodist Church to assist, which they did – just in time before the massive storm hit this winter. Love INC also asked another local church to help and they purchased additional firewood for Rutherford. Yet another church called Love INC saying that a parishioner had some firewood to donate, asking who would be the best person to give it to. Without hesitation, the answer was Rutherford.
Ginny called back several weeks later to tell us how much Rutherford had appreciated the wood and then shared that the word had been broadly spread of his need. “All kinds of church folks have been bringing him wood now,” she said. “He used to help them out, now they are helping him out.” She said he had received FIVE loads of wood since the storm (probably enough to last through the season now).
Ginny was not able to tell our staff exactly where the additional wood had come from, but we suspect that it was from volunteers in the churches mentioned above, since some of them had known Rutherford for years. We thank all those kind church volunteers for all they have given back to him!
NOTE: We also thank Peter Easter from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Ivy from whose properties wood is cut for the various wood ministries.