While Seeming to Have the Least, Some are Offering the Most

By John B. Lund, President & Chief Executive Officer

We have all probably experienced seeing someone in need, but may have felt helpless, lacking the resources or ability to intervene. We also likely know others who find a way to lend comfort, no matter the circumstances. One such person is named Dale and, with his permission, I will share some of his story.

Dale has faced many significant challenges and knows what it’s like to be desperate, out of work, without transportation, lacking hope, and fearing what comes next. He battled substance abuse and addiction for over 20 years. A farm-related accident left him seriously injured, spending 56 days in the hospital and another six months in a wheelchair.

While never technically homeless, Dale is familiar with sleeping in barns, vehicles, and temporary shelters. He gives much of the credit for turning his life around to the fine people in his community and church. They offered support, hosted him for dinner, provided counseling, training, and assistance in gaining employment & housing.

He now resides in the central part of Ogden, Utah. Going about his daily activities, Dale not only noticed but befriended many in the homeless population. He quickly recognized there wasn’t much he could do to address the many issues they faced; however, he still wanted to make a small difference in their lives.

With cold weather on the way, Dale decided to gather warm clothing, reaching out to those who had offered him so much when he was at risk. Using email, texts, social media and word of mouth, there was an outpouring of donated blankets, coats, sweaters, boots, socks, gloves, hats, backpacks, and more. The contributions were amazing and much was accomplished to brighten the day and season for these deserving individuals.

My wife approached Dale to thank him for giving so many of us this service opportunity. She was touched by his response. First, he was humble about organizing the effort, saying he learned firsthand from his friends about thinking of others rather than himself. For those who are homeless, he explained, “it’s a struggle to stay warm and clean. They want self-respect like everyone else.”

Dale’s compassion was strongly evident to my wife. He said that during the summer, if he ever had a little extra money, he would buy cold drinks and hand them out. “The drinks they find on the street are usually warm and not very good, but a cold soda was so much more refreshing and made them feel more normal.”

I feel personally blessed to count Dale as a friend and I’m honored to learn from his example. I was reminded to put myself in another’s shoes and recognize the positive influence we can have if we just try. This is a special season, one in which we tend to think more of others. Just as Dale has, I hope we can all be more sensitive to and considerate of those around us, not only during this time of celebration, but throughout the year.

Our mission at America First is to improve the membership’s financial well-being, stay relevant and sensitive to individual needs, and serve you in the manner that best suits your situation. We remain committed to this ideal and look forward to a lifetime relationship with you and your family. Happy holidays and best wishes for a safe and meaningful new year.