Fire at Baptist Church
October 5th, First Baptist Church in Belleville, KS burned. It was a
major fire, and everything inside the church was lost. It is very possible
the brick building will have to be razed as well.
Having been through a
disaster of my own two years ago (and still dealing with it, btw), I went to
that church's pastor (John Lewis) on Monday morning to ask their needs.
Turns out, he is new, having just accepted the Pastor's position three weeks
Anyway, I got a short list written down--things like Bibles,
Hymnals, Sunday School supplies, kitchen stuff, etc.
I talked to a few people and made some phone calls and within one hour
someone had donated 48 new Bibles! Is that great or what!
A couple days later, I spoke with Pastor Lewis again and he said that
some church in Tennessee is donating some used hymnals. I think there are
16, which is a good start. The congregation is only about 40 to 50 persons.
Someone contacted the company that publishes the Sunday School materials
the church uses, and apparently that company has a benevolence program, and
may replace the schoolbooks free, or for a discounted rate.
On Friday, Pastor Lewis and his wife told me that someone had snuck over
the the remains of the church and replaced the Christian flag, which had
melted in the fire. They were elated about that, but mystified as to who had
Oh, the best news thus far is that at least three churches volunteered to
share their space with the displaced church. None of the other churches are
Anyway, your prayers are appreciated. Much has been given, but their
needs are huge. And with a small congregation in a small town, there isn't a
lot of money available. The church was insured, but I am not yet aware of
how much coverage they had. Look at this page for
Oh, the local Cub/Boy Scouts met at that church and have lost some
Scouting things which were stored there. Keep them in mind, too. Thanks!
Shopping at Office Depot
Today while running a million errands while trying to run
two businesses I made a quick stop into Office Depot in Madison, TN to buy a
Well, let me tell you--there is no
such thing as a "quick" trip to Office Depot! It took about 30 minutes to
find the two items I needed and I was feeling impatient (I'd been running
way behind all morning). As luck would have it, this store has only one
checkout lane open, and two people in line, and one has a full cart.
The lady with the full cart asks me if I have just those
two things to buy (yes), then tells me I may check out before she.
If you're a regular reader of this RAKs page you know how
much I like when people are nice--well her courtesy was so much appreciated
today--especially since I've been totally stressed lately (even my
Chiropractor (Dr. David Hall, Rivergate Chiro, btw) noticed it in my
I thanked this nice lady, and told her about my RAKs web
page. The cashier heard this entire conversation and everyone was all
smiles. It really made for a nice moment--and all because one selfless
person gave up her place in line for me.
War Veteran Dies
Here's a story which isn't really a "random" act, but it shows peoples'
goodness of spirit, and the PowerPoint photo gallery made me cry. See the
the setup: A friend of mine in Kansas lost a relative recently in the Iraq
War. In his words:
The ceremony yesterday was an amazing tribute to Chad (my cousin's son,
who spent a lot of time with our family after his father died at age 50) and
all who are willing to serve their country.
The outpouring of support in Wichita and in nearly every community
between Wichita and the cemetery in Coldwater was really touching. In many
towns there were hundreds of people lining the streets with flags, signs and
hands on their hearts.
I drove my Mom and Dad from Wichita where the funeral services were held
to Coldwater where the graveside services were held. Dad was in tears much
of the way. He told me that it is Chad's day, but as a wounded World War II
veteran he felt it was a home coming that he didn't get when he came back
from Japan in the 1940's.
Coming back to the United States during the Viet Nam War I know how he
felt. It was a once in a lifetime event for all of us.
The 200 or so members of the Patriot Guards from across Kansas showed up
to support the family and to keep Rev. Fred Phelp's wackos at bay about a
half mile from the church. The following link will take you to a power point
presentation that we put together this morning: PowerPoint Photo Gallery.
It will take a while to load.
We are all very proud of Chad.
www.bamacyclist.com (opens in new window)
While at the local Dairy Queen [in Great Bend, Kansas], Greg
and Linda were ordering their favorite product when they were approached
by a man (a retired priest) who wanted to know what they were up to on their
bicycles...nothing unusual to this point, this happens everyday. But after
talking with him for a few minutes, he paid for their DQ order...then he
gave them $20 for future orders. "There, I've done my good deed for the
day," he said.
Sometimes you just have to be in the right
place at the right time.
Well, I picked up the mail
today and got a surprise from an anonymous person--a $100 gift card to
Publix grocery store! Wow!
That came just in time
because just last week we had to put our groceries on a credit card (see
what that does for your self-esteem--having no money for food).
So, whoever you are, a
sincere and heartfelt "Thank you!"
anonymous by request
Here are a couple kindnesses we experienced:
by Tom Tsao
On the way back from Kansas, we
got caught in an ice/sleet storm on I-70 Turnpike. We'd just bought a "new"
van a few hours earlier and didn't realize there was no washer fluid in it.
Nearly blinded by the salty
dirt on our windshield, we squinted in to the nearest service area to get
some washer fluid. Of course, they were all sold out.
I talked the clerk into
selling me the bottle of window cleaner she used on the store windows. She
said I could have the contents of the bottle for free--just not the bottle
(it was a Jan-San supply item they reused instead of discarding).
While I was messing with the
fluid, another driver noticed I was out and offered to fill my washer
reservoir with the bottle he carried on his truck.
Two kindnesses at one stop!
That has to make your day.
Recipient of a Nice Gesture
J R on March 10, 2006
Yesterday, I extended my wife
the privilege of taking me out to lunch. LOL.
While eating, we were laughing and joking with each other. An older
gentleman, sitting adjacent to our table, finished his lunch. On his way out
he stopped and placed a dollar on our table. My wife and I were puzzled by
I followed the gentleman out the door and asked, "What was that for?"
He said with a smile on his face: "Don't ask questions, you were having a
good time and I like to see that."
Shopping at Target
Submitted by anonymous, January 15, 2006
After having a really, really stressful and crappy day, I stopped by our
local Target store in Hendersonville, not to purchase anything, but just to
burn off some energy and find someone for whom to do something nice.
When I'm depressed, it always makes me feel better to do something
special for an unsuspecting person.
I found a few items on the clearance shelf then headed to the
checkout lanes. I selected a lane where I saw a young mom and her two kids
waiting their turn. The shopping cart contained several sensible items for
children; many of which came off a clearance shelf.
When it came time to check out, I simply told the cashier to put it on my
ticket. My "victim" was very surprised, of course, and tried to refuse, but
I told her that I'd had a crappy day and I was going to buy her items for
She was basically too astonished to argue too much, so she thanked me as
her kids stared wide-eyed.
It was great! I hope those kids remember that moment their entire lives.
by Tom Tsao
Funny--I started this Random Acts of Kindness page just 2-3 months ago,
and now I've been the recipient of innumerable kindnesses.
Our home and business are situated on seven acres near Hendersonville,
Tennessee. On April 7, 2006, all nine buildings on our property were
destroyed. In fact, only two buildings weren't totally flattened: our house
and a small concrete barn.
While disaster cleanup volunteerism isn't exactly classified as a Random
Act of Kindness, it is certainly worth mentioning here because of the sheer
size of the task at hand, and the obvious selflessness of so many
(hundreds!) of people. Most of whom we had never met before.
So many good people live in our area, and one just doesn't notice until
something like this happens. We have had people bring food, water, shovels,
chainsaws, a Bobcat, trailers, Sawzall, generators, trash bags, and the list
We have also had many people donate their time and labor in a wide
variety of tasks--let me tell you, it just warms the heart and means more to
my wife and me than words can express!
Photos and video cannot do justice to the magnitude of the mess we have
to clean up--and picking up debris from eight large buildings and one small
one is only a small part of the cleanup process.
The most difficult part is the paperwork, so to speak. That is, the
hundreds of phone calls to insurance companies, adjustors, storage units,
the County, the City, the electric company, the water company, the cable
company (they won't shut it off unless you call them--even if your house is
unlivable), the banks, the credit card companies, the cell phone companies,
the relatives, the friends, the employees, the customers, the news stations,
the newspapers, the restaurants (someone has to feed the volunteers), the
Red Cross, FEMA, the SBA (for disaster loan), the churches, the local
charities (if you need help and they don't show up on their own, you've got
to let them know you're in need), the Chambers of Commerce (in our county,
the Chamber was in charge of delegating volunteers to disaster sites--and
our street was entirely skipped), the leasing companies (their name is on
the insurance as a co-payee), the internet provider, every person who has an
auto-debit on any of your bank or credit card accounts, the mortgage
companies, and probably some more I can't think of right now.
Just being on the phone is a fulltime job, and the volunteers are the
only way a victim of such a major disaster will be able to make the
necessary phone calls (this is also the reason my phone calls aren't all
done yet--remember, we were overlooked by the agency giving out volunteer
assignments the first two weeks after the tornado).
Anyway, thanks to all who helped us and continue to help us (there's
still a long way to go). We may not know or remember you personally, but we
will never forget you!
Greg (Tom) & Liana Tsao
Some months after the Hendersonville tornado, a local family
applied for, and received, an Extreme Home Makeover via a popular TV show.
The number of companies who donated materials was staggering.
The number of individuals who donated their personal time to help build a
new home for the Hawkins family was probably over 1,000.
The most impressive thing is something the Hawkins family
will probably never fully understand; the volunteers I met were all very
happy to be doing the work, and were very concerned about doing excellent
For instance, the bookshelves which were featured on a
segment of the show were partially painted by the Oak Ridge Boys, and were
completed by anonymous volunteers who painted every surface--even the backs
which would not be visible after installation.
Everyone wanted to do their best for the Hawkins family. It really impressed
"Thank-you, Good Citizens of Hendersonville!"