Every Friday at the Copper Bar, you’ll find a mixed bag of firefighters, first responders, and Chivers raising glasses and swapping stories. But you’ll also notice that the main conference room is brimming with energy. That’s where the team at Chive Charities meets with many of our recipients personally if they’re close enough to the HQ.
We do this for two very important reasons. First, we want to hear their story.
When you meet August, he’s the Trifecta of everything we value at theCHIVE. His grandfather fought his way through Okinawa after surviving Pearl Harbor. His grandmother was a naval nurse and charge nurse at an ICU in Fort Worth, Texas. His mother has been a caregiver for years. August himself has been a certified EMT for 18 years serving a number of ESD’s (Emergency Service Districts). He is now an EMT in Live Oak, Texas, Northeast of San Antonio.
And two years ago, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 colorectal cancer. His diagnosis came innocently enough. He suspected he was anemic and went to the doctor. Two days later he was in surgery fighting for his life. “I recalled something my grandfather said about the day Pearl Harbor was attacked. He said, “‘I went to get a drink of water, the bomb hit, chipped my tooth, and the day went to hell from there.’”
August’s medical bills began piling up. It wasn’t long until August, his wife Natalie, and their four children were forced to move into his mother-in-law’s house. Along with cancer came mobility issues and their bathroom was, as August describes it, “suboptimal.”
But the Chivers do love themselves a good renovation. This is the bathroom today, courtesy of Chive Charities.
August has a sense of humor about his condition, but it’s his lifelong commitment to helping others that shines through. During our conversation, you get the feeling that he wants to beat cancer less so for himself, and more for his family. And ultimately, so he can return to his life of serving others.
The second reason we meet recipients personally: Things unseen in the charity world tend to remain unseen.
We discovered long ago that a recipient’s humility often gets the best of them. Selflessness causes them to only ask for the bare essentials. Only by having a face-to-face conversation will you ever get to the core of any personality. Per my title, you’ve been waiting for a relevant Counting Crows lyric. And there it is.
With 30 straight days of 100+ degree weather, August is shaping up to be the hottest month on record for the state of Texas. I asked August how that was affecting life these days. Unexpectedly he glanced at his wife and said, “Truthfully, our air conditioning went out last week.”
“You lost AC… in your house… in the devil’s backyard?”
August shrugs his hulking shoulders, “We have lots of fans. At night we can get it below 90.”
If you were a firefighter at the copper bar and glanced into the conference room that day, you would have seen a team at Chive Charities glancing around at each other with a knowing smile. The unseen was finally seen. And we didn’t need to pow-wow privately to collectively agree that Chive Charities would be purchasing the family a new AC unit.
This isn’t a flash campaign. Our Green Members stepped up and paid for the AC unit which was installed just a few days later. This is a time for August to focus on healing, not heat.
But this story is not about an AC unit either. It is, however, about the intangibles swirling around each of our recipients that a team of committed individuals endeavors to make tangible every single day. Because if you can create that magic, maybe a daughter gets to grow up with a wonderful father.
It takes a very good team to pull off this kinda’ magic. I just want everybody out there who is a donor to Chive Charities to understand the effort this team puts in every single day to help people like August… and everything after.
PS – This story was made possible by our Green Donors. Thank you for making it possible for me to meet people like August. If you get a chance today, I invite you all to consider becoming Green Donors and getting in on the action.