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Here's Signs Of Generosity

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Lisa Wilson is shown here with her niece, Zaylee Wilson, one of 17 nieces and nephews who count on Lisa for the kind of God-like love that she has learned to give after the tragic loss of her husband and finding that God's work is everywhere.

If you want evidence Rutherford County is a generous place, just talk to Lisa Wilson at the Town And Country Inn and Suites in Spindale.

"Ever since my husband (Ryan 'Whitey' Wilson) died, it's been about working, helping people, and taking care of my nieces and nephews," she said during a recent interview.

The story of her husband's death comes later, but consider how Town And Country is a conduit for people who need help, people who lack first and last month's rent or the money it would take to pay a utility deposit, people who have shorter work hours, people who have lost jobs or are living on limited social security income.

The list of needs is endless.

Now look at who is coming to the rescue.

First there are many churches who have funds for people down on their luck in their church budgets.

On Tuesday nights Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church serves a meal that not only feeds many of the down-on-their-luck residents, but also homeless people who often pass through the parking lot and the lobby of the inn.

On Thursday nights, volunteers with the Green River Baptist Association show up to feed the hungry.

In a culture that loves the glitter and gold of pro football and fast cars, the outpouring of generosity is a stark contrast.

"Lisa is gonna have a huge mansion in heaven," Stephanie Hardin said of her friend.

Lisa Wilson is often the channel. The good comes from many sources: other churches, the United Way, The Shining Star Foundation, the local school system when they were delivering to children at home during the shut down and the Spindale Police Department.

Donna West from Thomas Jefferson Academy recruited members of her sorority to help with Christmas gifts several years ago and they keep on giving, year round now.

The Walmart Distribution center brings food every Friday except the third Friday during which they meet obligations elsewhere.

And there are private individuals who have learned from Lisa and elsewhere that there is always need. One of her high school classmates paid a month's rent for a resident, just shy of a thousand dollars.

Angie Steed and her husband built the swing set out back.

"I don't want to leave anybody out. Please say that if I do, I'm sorry," she said.

How has her Christian faith informed her work?

"When my husband got hurt in that car wreck (June 24, 1998,) I did a lot of praying and bargaining with God, a lot of grief. You know the stages you hear about. When he died I was angry, but since then, I have seen God working everywhere," she said.

Her husband's death came after four years of hospital stays.

Four years.

They were four years of sleeping on cots or small daybeds in his hospital rooms in Louisiana, Charlotte, Greensboro, and Asheville. When he died on October 14, 2001, she had spent every night with him and many days, leaving only to work during which time others came in to be with him.

Throughout his time, he was paralyzed and sustained by a ventilator and feeding tube. He could only nod "Yes," or shake his head "No."

Four years.

Today, 19 years later, her bright spirit and problem solving brain not only hold down the desk at Town And Country, often around the clock, but she works for former East High Football Coach Jim Clements, in the brokerage trucking business. She finds truckers for people who need freight moved which is also a 24/7 business.

Town And Country is owned by Ron Patel.

Wait a minute. She works around the clock at Town And Country and brokers trucking jobs over the telephone and computer on a laptop she brought from home, often 24/7? Yes.

"I go home to shower," she said of a schedule that would put many of us into severe distress, maybe even up the proverbial tree.

"But I love it. I love helping people and I love the brokerage business," she said. "And I especially love working with children. When donated bicycles came in this Christmas, those kids were so excited."

Oh, and those nieces and nephews, one of whom showed up to get her picture made during the visit? There are seven of the next generation and 10 great-nieces and nephews in the next generation after that one. Her brother, Terry Hyatt and sister, Cindy Kiser are part of an extended family that has given her plenty of nieces and nephews to share the good news of "God's work everywhere."

Sandy Run Baptist Association also helps.

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