WARR ACRES, Okla. - You know that person, the one who helps out and asks for nothing in return.
That’s how people in Warr Acres describe Ronnie Powell.
“He helps a lot of neighbors,” Chance Gordon, who nominated Ronnie for the First Fidelity Bank Pay it Forward Award. “He’s helped mow grass. He’s helped roof a house. Our house, he helped us roof it. He watches our dogs for us.”
It doesn’t end there.
Ronnie Powell doesn’t just help out Chance Gordon’s family, but it seems like everyone else's, too.
“He’s helped the neighbors,” Chance recounted. “They lost, he lost his wife and just took it upon himself and mows their grass because he’s an older gentleman himself.”
The list goes on, but here’s the catch: Ronnie never asks for anything in return and he probably wouldn’t accept it, anyway.
That’s why Chance, who’s only 17-years-old, nominated Ronnie Powell for the First Fidelity Bank Pay it Forward Award.
When Michelle Jensen from First Fidelity Bank heard about Ronnie’s good work, she came out to Chance’s house to say ‘thank you.’
“He goes through so much to do kindness acts for so many people and asks nothing in return,” Michelle told Chance before Ronnie had arrived. “And I think it’s really incredible that you realize that at such a young age and contacted us to Pay it Forward to Mr. Powell.”
For that, Michelle gave Chance $400 to give to Ronnie, who had no idea our crew was waiting for him in Chance’s backyard.
Instead, he thought he was coming over to help Chance paint a bench that he wanted to give his mother for Mother’s Day.
Then, the moment arrives as Ronnie comes out the door into Chance’s backyard, walking right into our set-up.
That’s when we surprised Ronnie, telling him he had been nominated for the Pay it Forward Award.
When we told him that the award is because he helps so many people out, he responded, “Right, I try to. Everybody else, they do the same. We all work together.”
Ronnie was trying to play it cool, not getting to emotional but still feeling honored that Chance would think of him.
That’s when Chance gave Ronnie the $400 from First Fidelity Bank.
“Oh wow,” Ronnie said, a bit shocked. “I appreciate it. I really do. Been through some tough times lately, and this will really help.”
We didn’t mention it before, but Ronnie’s been going through some trials.
He’s not the kind of guy who’s looking for sympathy, but things have been rough since his wife died just a few weeks ago.
“She always told me that she loved me every day,” Ronnie recounted. “Being analyzed with something else and then finding out that it’s cancer and then sending us home and telling us to get in touch with hospice and four days later my wife dies. It was just a big shock.”
It was such a shock that with just four days, there was no time to prepare.
Even affording a headstone for his wife’s grave had been out of the picture.
“Yeah, we’re gonna get that worked out,” Ronnie said. “Of course this will go towards it.”
Despite the hard road, Ronnie is still out in the neighborhood helping people out, not looking for anything except seeing people get through their own hard times.
“It’s a blessing,” Chance said. “It’s honestly a blessing, because when you need something, you know have someone you know you can call on and he’ll be there always. Anytime you need him, he’ll drop what he’s doing and help you anytime.”
That way of looking at things rubbed off on Chance in a big way.
Now he’s also doing what Ronnie does - helping other people out who need it.
“He’s changing oil on cars," Ronnie said about Chance. “He goes around and helps the neighbors. I pulled my motorcycle out and he’s over there working on it, got it jacked up changing the oil for me, you know, mowing my backyard for me. I wake up, hear the lawnmower going and think what’s going on? Walk outside and there he is, mowing my yard.”
“He’s just amazing. He’s the one you ought to be honoring, not me. He’s the one.”
Chance set up a fund on Go Fund Me campaign to help raise money for Ronnie’s wife to get a headstone.
If you want to pitch in and help out, click here.
Pay it 4Ward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.