MIDWEST CITY, Okla. - We all go through tough times in life, but it is how we handle them that often shows true character.
It was a windy day as we met Herman Hagan at the Eastside Church of Christ in Midwest City, but even windier can be the ups and downs of life that have brought many people through the church doors. Herman has seen a lot in his nearly 90 years on this Earth.
"I helped build the church back in 1954,” he said.
And one of the church’s most faithful servants he says, is Wanda. So, Herman nominated her for Pay It 4Ward.
“I felt like she deserved it, and I feel like the 50,000 people that she's been serving these 25 years deserve to be able to recognize her work and thank her for it,” Herman said.
Years ago, Wanda felt like God put a burden on her heart to help others. It was so strong she turned a church closet into a thriving charity that has helped thousands of people when the turbulent winds of life have knocked them off their feet. Wanda is there right now, but you would never know it.
Within weeks of each other, Wanda lost her husband and her daughter, but she is still at the church and putting other’s needs before her own.
"Hello, Wanda. Got some visitors for you. For all your work for 25 years and the 50,000 people you've helped in those 25 years and all the people from DHS that you make a special effort for, First Fidelity Bank and Channel 4 and I have got something to give you this morning," Herman told Wanda.
"Oh, Herman. You get a hug first. This is sweet," she told him. "We can fill some more gas tanks now. We can help some more people now. Thank you very much.”
Since 1993, Wanda has spent countless hours of her own time and often her own money.
"There are people out there hurting that need somewhat, but a lot of them need, and we're here for them,” she said.
And now in another way, the charity is here for her.
"Yes, yes. Keep busy. That's the main thing. To keep busy," she said. "We have several hundred a month that come through, and throughout the time we've probably helped I'd say fifty to sixty thousand people who have come by periodically. We help the different agencies in the metro area. This is our workroom in here for all of our helping hands."
Anything to help make a house a home, you will find in the church’s charity – clothes for men, women, children, and right now, they really need clothing for kids.
"And especially boys. Boys either pass their clothes around or they wear them out," Wanda said.
When someone walks through the makeshift aisles, there are no questions asked. No ID’s. Just take what you need.
"When we see their eyes light up when they find something they can use, that's a reward," said Wanda.
That is paying it forward.
Pay It 4Ward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.