Summer was living in Charlotte County in Florida in 2004 when hurricane Charley destroyed almost everything.
“In August of 2004, hurricane Charley came through Charlotte County FL where I reside and leveled most of the area. The devastation was unimaginable and for many months our town looked like some kind of war zone. My own home took extensive damage and I lost most of my possessions as did so many others in the community. It took a considerable amount of time to regain any sense of normalcy.”
But unfortunately this was not the only setback for Summer.
“Just a few years later, I lost my home to a fire. It was a total loss, and the only thing left were literally the clothes on my and my children’s backs. Our family has an intimate relationship with loss and I believe there’s a certain sensitivity that comes with knowing what it is to have absolutely nothing.”
“3 years ago my son, Bryton Sanner, joined a small 4-H club called 4 paws and a Tail 4-H of Charlotte County. 4-H is a youth development program with strong roots in agriculture and community service. Our club’s focus is on dogs and while the focus of each club is different, we all have the same pledge; “I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service,and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world.” This is where the 4 “H”’s comes from; Head, Heart, Hands and Health. A big part of this club is to be proactive and serve the community where we can.”
Just a few weeks ago hurricane Michael made landfall at Panama city beach. (watch my roadtrip video’s to see what Panama city looked like just a month before hurricane Michael.)
“After the recent devastation of Hurricane Michael in the Florida panhandle, the need for help was clear.”
“I was scheduled for time off of work and was willing to drive supplies to affected areas. I started reaching out to members of 4-H near the affected areas and made contact with 4-H agent Rachel Pienta of Wakulla County 4-H. She communicated the need for school supplies, non perishable food and pet food to distribute to the surrounding communities. With the help of Mala Sawhney, our Club Leader, we did quickly organize a drive within our local 4-H extension office, which is home to all of our Charlotte County 4-H clubs. Unfortunately, Only myself, the Sawhney and Fairchild families were able to donate to the effort and we were running out of time. We had to start reaching out to the greater community as the days started to count down.. We reached out to churches, businesses, friends and family to make this drive as successful as possible. While they had no affiliation with 4-H, dear friends Kevin Correll and Sally Brown donated supplies and their time as they helped network several other donations from their friends, family and co-workers. My son, myself, Kevin and Sally worked to organize donations and box them up for transport. In less than a week, the efforts of just a few people turned a handful of donations into a truckload. When it was time, Kevin and Sally offered the use of their truck and assisted us in driving up boxes of food, medical supplies, school supplies and pet food up to Wakulla County extension office on Saturday, October 27th. We were promptly greeted by volunteers who immediately began unloading the truck and placing the donations on carts to organize for distribution. We were thanked profusely and left feeling like a small ripple of kindess was made in the aftermath of such destruction.”
“Our efforts reminded me a bit of the story about the boy and the starfish, if I may paraphrase; An old man was walking along a beach one day that had become littered with hundreds of starfish, washed up from the high tide. A young boy was patiently picking up starfish and placing them back into the ocean. The old man approached the boy and said, “Do you realize how many starfish there are? There is just one of you, how do you expect to make a difference? The boy replied, while continuing his task and gently picking up a starfish and placing it back into the water; “It sure made a difference to that one!”
“I say this because I was first discouraged at how few donations we received and I wondered if it was worth the effort to press on and keep trying. I remembered that story and knew we had to do as much as we could with what little time and resources we had. Somewhere out there, with our donations; a family is eating, a child is coloring, a person is feeding their dog and cat when yesterday they didn’t have means of doing so. There are people with no power or water that can sanitize their hands before they eat, tend to basic wounds and have tissue to dry their tears. Our donations made a difference to those people.”
Thank you Summer for this beautiful and inspiring story. This is exactly the reason why I want to give people like you a platform here on my website. If we are able to inspire one person to do something good after reading this story, it was totally worth it! You don’t have to do a lot, you don’t have to spend a lot of money. Do something small and give someone your time, that is more valuable than all the money in the world. Give someone your time and genuine interest and receive gratitude and love.
Email me if you have any questions for Summer, please use here name as subject so I can forward your mail.