Friday, December 27, 2013

How I Paid it Forward (Thanks to All of You)

Our house fire Oct 26th 2013 and my infamous Orange Jeep
When our house burned down on October 26, 2013 there was nothing I could have done to prepare for what followed. The barrage of insurance paperwork, utility company demands, changes of address to every person and company I knew and rebuilding our lives was more than overwhelming. Through faith and community support, we were able to get back on the road of recovery much sooner than had we been nomads in a remote area.

Donations came in from past and present church members and locals organizations such as the local Mason lodge, VFW, Jobs Daughters, WildLife Trekking Co., Hodgepodge, The Mattress Center, Frys Grocery Store, Findlay Toyota and VW, and dozens of other local companies in northern Arizona. 

Just as impressive was the outpouring of support from across the internet thanks to my blog friends, James Wesley Rawles of, Cody from Wranglerstar fame , Patrice Lewis from Rural-Revolution and the list goes on and on. It was with this support that my family began to rebuild our lives and begin to approach normalcy again. And it was because of this support that I was able to "Pay it Forward" to a coworker when I found out his house burned down shortly after mine.

Paying it Forward in the AZDAILY SUN
Joe Canedo is our long time cook here at my hospital and everyone knows him. More impressive is that Joe knows what everyone will ask for before they ask, whether it be breakfast or lunch. After only two months on the job, I could walk into the cafeteria and he would instantly begin making my favorite breakfast: scrambled eggs mixed with potatoes and ham. He also knew I preferred it in a takeout box.

Shortly after Thanksgiving Joe approached me in the cafe during lunch one day. He began by saying "Sorry to hear about your house." This was a common phrase to me lately and as I begin to thank him he told me that his home had just burned down a few days earlier. I could see the remnants of panic and sadness in his eyes and realized immediately that I had to help so many other people had done for me.

I told him we would begin to save all of our extra donations and things we had no need for and he could have them as soon as he has a place to live. The Red Cross has put Joe up in a hotel until they can find him a suitable home for him and his disabled mother. After some reassuring chat, I returned to my office and called Wifey. I told her what had happened to Joe and we agreed to start stockpiling items for him. Couches, silverware, you name is waiting for him.

I reached out to the newspaper journalist who had put our family on the front page of the local paper THREE TIMES (first article, second article, third article includes our Paying it Forward) in one month. That exposure helped us with donations and increased community support. I told her about Joe's plight and asked if she could do a story on him. She agreed and soon he was interviewed. That spread the story to the local University news station and they called me for information. They wanted to do a news story on Joe and I which I quickly arranged to be filmed in our hospital. Our segment is at the very beginning. Take a few minutes to see what YOU have made possible and the joy you have brought to Joe by helping me to pay it forward.

I'll never be able to express my gratitude for all that you have done for my family but I can at least share with you what I have done to attempt to pay it forward.

If you want to donate to Joe's family, you can send a donation to our PayPal account and I'll be sure he gets it. (PayPal address = They also list a donation fund in the news cast via Wells Fargo.

Joe is a wonderful man and so are all of you that helped us in our time of tragedy. Thank you and God Bless.



  1. That is so neat! Happy Trails, Penny, TX

  2. Great example! I saw your story on Wranglerstar channel.

    Chin up, you and your family will be back on track in short time.

    Greetings from Brazil.


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