Sunday, June 14, 2015

Give of your heart's rich overflow

On Saturday, June 6, Huntsville, Texas, firefighter Aaron Van Riper responded to an alarm of a head-on traffic accident. He was shocked to see the victims were his family. "My wife Amber was laying there on the ground." His seven-year-old son Jonathan was pinned inside the vehicle. Aaron told a TV reporter on the scene that only God could have saved them because "there was nothing left of that car." Firefighters got the boy out and airlifted him and his Mom to the hospital,where she endured nine hours of surgery. Both are confined to wheelchairs as they recover, and although both parents work, the family has no insurance.

Hoping to help, friends of the family launched a GoFundMe page to defray mounting medical bills. As of Friday, June 12, the page had raised $100,000, including (believe it or not) one donation of $15,000. It was signed with the name Taylor Swift. Aaron was incredulous. "If it is her, I thank her from the bottom of my heart," he said. (Billboard confirmed the contribution came from the real Taylor Swift.) As news of her donation spread, it kick-started a surge of contributions.

Swift said nothing about her donation, but it's not out of character. She regularly visits kids in hospitals, donates song profits to the NYC school system, and gave the Red Cross $100,000 to help flood victims in Iowa. She's been named one of Hollywood's most charitable stars. Inspired by Taylor's gift, the community where the Van Ripers live is bringing puzzles and games to keep Jonathan busy as he recovers, and building a wheelchair ramp so he and his Mom can get around until they can walk again. A good illustration of Matthew 25:40.

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