How often do you experience a true reset? It’s pretty rare isn’t it? Well, some of us had TWO resets within 24 hours last week. Last Thursday night, 1,000 people hit the reset button at the funeral of a precious little 10-year-old girl, Olivia Ray (see “Reset” post). Then on Friday night, I witnessed something that truly amazed me. Something that changes the way you feel about community.
Friday night we threw a party. “Tommy’s Nite Out” was a fundraiser for Tommy Van Zandt, who is a founder and partner of Sage Partners, an incredible husband and father, and a man after God’s own heart. But on February 7, Tommy had a horrible accident as he fell from a ladder while cutting tree limbs following the ice storm we experienced here in northwest Arkansas. He knew immediately he was paralyzed from the neck down.
As you might guess, his medical expenses are beyond comprehension. So a couple of months ago, a few of his close friends decided to try to help and ”Tommy’s Nite Out” was born.
In the beginning, our expectations were low, at least mine were. We were a diverse group of friends, most of whom had never attempted something like this. But it was absolutely amazing to see a disjointed group of men and women, who have a common cause and passion, come together in service.
Our leaders, Tony and Mary Beth Sherman, set a BHAG goal. A “big hairy audacious goal” of $201,000 (that’s $1,000 more than a similar event had raised for Tommy in Dallas, TX a few months earlier). Northwest Arkansas did not want to be outdone by Texas.
On Friday night, after 5 inches of rain and with temperatures of 45 degrees, 900 people rolled out to help Tommy and Robyn Van Zandt! I can’t share the exact total that was raised with you just yet, but suffice to say that with God’s help, we blew the doors off the $201,000 goal!
Why a reset?
First…relationships. Tommy Van Zandt invests deeply in relationships. To watch so many people come together and spend so much time with such selfless faith to help Tommy, causes you to really stop and think about how you are living your life.
Second…giving. To see 900 people come to an outdoor party and give and give and give says so much about the generous heart of the people of Arkansas. Even in these economic times, hundreds of people gave whatever they could to a family in great need.
I realize now that these words don’t really capture what I witnessed on Friday night, nor the weeks and months leading up to Friday night. But, I know this. As I watched people lined up to talk to Tommy sitting in his wheelchair and listened to Robyn stand on the stage and share her heart with 900 people, it would be hard not to see the love and the grace and the power of God.
If you want to learn more about Tommy Van Zandt and how you could help, go to http://www.friendsoftommyv.com.
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