OKLAHOMA CITY - Winter is a horrible time of year for the wiring in one's home to go out, but that was the case for an Oklahoma City couple who returned home to find their heater was dead.
Stacy and Josh Lemonds live in a cozy home built in 1945. The lights had flickered for years and several outlets never worked.
"We came home and it was really cold in here and we came home and it was a blank screen, and we were like, 'why is the heat not running?'" Stacy said.
With both Stacy and Josh out of work, they had nowhere to go and no money for repairs, so they turned to their faith.
"We started praying," Stacy said. The couple immediately contacted their church marriage group asking only for prayer, and right away they got a response from a man they barely knew, named Joshua Matthews, who works as an apprentice with Dane Electric.
The couple had just met Joshua a few weeks earlier when they took meals to his home while his wife was ill.
"He chimed in with a text, he told us, 'Hey, do you know I'm an electrician, and I live only about ten minutes away,' and he came over and looked at it and said, 'There's some big problems here, let's get OG&E involved in this, as well.' So, that night OG&E came out, they pulled the meter, and said it was a fire hazard, and they would not allow us to have electricity until it was fixed and inspected," Stacy said.
While other church friends paid for the couple's stay at a hotel, Joshua took on the big project himself, along with Journeyman Electrician, Christian Harbison, also from Dane Electric, spending several days and nights, well past midnight, to replace the corroded wires and get the Lemonds' home up to code.
"We sat out in the car in the rain, watching him," Stacy said. "It was cold and I just didn't want him to hurt himself because he was going up those aluminum ladders, and I didn't want him to slip and fall in the dark," she said. "He's just an amazing friend and a servant of God, he's really a servant."
Dane Electric wiped away every penny owed, taking the project on as a charity case. The generous company sent Joshua back out to the couple's home for a fake "reinspection," so that Stacy could present him with a $400 Pay It 4Ward award from First Fidelity Bank.
Joshua was shocked when he walked through their door and was greeted with the huge surprise from Stacy.
"I have something for you. Thank you so much for taking care of our electric. We appreciate you, so we have $400 to pay it forward for you," Stacy said with tears in her eyes.
Joshua replied, "You don't have to do this."
"No, we do. We wanted to give back something. We know that you guys toiled over what happened, so - look at our lights! You guys, Dane Electric, you all did it, so thank you very much, bless you guys!" Stacy said as she hugged Joshua.
"Absolutely! I had no idea what was going on!" Joshua laughed. "It's just what anyone should do."
Joshua is also a soldier who has completed two tours in Afghanistan with the 45th Infantry Division. Just as he serves his country, he serves people in need.
Now with brand new wiring, he has given the gift of a bright future to the Lemonds family.
"It's been humbling, but it's also been an amazing experience to see people love - just love because they love, and just give. And thankfully, today I get to give back a little bit, and that's just amazing to me that I can pay it forward," Stacy smiled.
Pay It 4Ward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.