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Being wealthy (in good friends)

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This story is basically a continuation of the last one I gave you, with regards to how this anniversary was quite different from most others we have celebrated. This part of the story pays credit to those who have helped me (and my family) in times of need. As a matter of fact, I can say that about another recent story when I assisted in “righting” a flipped excavator machine down the street from my home.

I could not have done that favor for our neighbor had it not been for a good friend from church named Duane Niebel. He not only helped me put a new transmission in the old Dodge truck but also came to the rescue when I needed some extra welding done to strengthen the front brush bars where my 12,000 lbs. winch was bolted.

I must also say that this friend that did these things had open heart surgery a while back. (As I was having my wife “proofing” this story out, she reminded me of the year that she broke her foot while we were on vacation up in the mountains of West Virginia, and when we got home, Duane and another friend named Keith Jolink helped us set up a handicap ramp). And while on the subject of rescues from breakdowns, I can’t forget another friend from church, John Weipz (who was also, at one point, my boss).

He drove out to I-75 in the middle of the night (about 1 1/2 years ago) to help me get into town to buy a part for our truck. Now, getting back to the most recent situation that came about as we were driving back home from Mary’s Fish Camp. We were coming up to the light on Cortez Blvd., I heard a loud clunk (that sounded like we ran over something big). Immediately following that, I had no drive going to the back of the truck. (NOT GOOD)!

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The truck was allowed to roll to a stop, close to the rest of the traffic around us. I told my wife, “I think we just lost our transmission.” Putting the emergency flashers on, I got out and looked under the truck. I guess that I must have gotten rattled because I didn’t realize that 1) the drive shaft was not only missing but was nowhere to be seen, and 2) the rear axle was broken away from the U-Bolt supports (that keep it from going in a different direction than the way you want the vehicle to go)!

Now, as I have broken down in tougher situations, and we were in the same (relative) area where we live, we started making some phone calls. Also, being that this truck was a four-wheel drive, I tried shifting the front axle device, and we still had power there. This gave us the chance to ease the truck and trailer rig across the intersection and into the nearest shopping center parking lot. So, a wrecker was called (to haul the broken down truck to a repair shop), and my wife was soon texting our friends from the church. One of the women we sit close to in our church had just texted her regarding a relative they needed extra prayers for. Cecelia called and spoke with Katherine Acevedo and was learning information on the prayer request when she just happened to mention that we were broken down on the west side of the county.

Katherine mentioned to my wife that her husband just got a new Toyota Tundra truck. Within a few minutes, Mrs. Acevedo’s husband, Eddie, called me back, and we spoke of what I needed for hauling our R.V. back to south Brooksville. This couple has been very gracious to us (and our family) in the recent past, and Eddie was now going to be putting his vehicle to the service of helping “the brethren.” In the meantime, the man from Sam’s Wrecker service showed up, and we started getting the truck up onto his roll-off platform.

He asked me what happened to the drive shaft, and I told him that it must still be laying somewhere down the street (in front of the Burger King restaurant). He offered to take me down the street to look for it, but as we were discussing this option, Cecelia came walking back from way down the street. She told us that she didn’t see the truck part anywhere on (or alongside) the road.

She did, however, mention that she saw a fire rescue truck parked in the same area of the road where we originally broke down, and they had their emergency lights on. They were the ones that lifted the shaft assembly off the road and actually hoisted it up onto the upper hose deck of the truck! Within minutes of the tow truck pulling away with our truck, Mr. Acevedo (Eddie) came pulling up with his Toyota. We had some switching around of tow hitch coupler parts, and in no time at all, the R.V. trailer was hooked, wired up, and ready to roll.

Now, as Eddie and his wife had previously been on our property (picking my mother up to take her to a church Christmas Cantata), he asked if I would drive the truck and trailer through the narrow passage leading onto our place. This was something that I would have expected from somebody that I have many years of interaction with, and yet we had not had a whole lot of time being around each other up to this point.

Many people that look at church-going folk often remark that a lot of what they/(we) do is all for show. This man (and his wife) are not only talking the talk, but they are also most certainly walking the Christian walk! I am not saying that all people that attend church are of this caring caliber; I AM saying that we have been blessed with having some friends that know what it means to “go the extra mile” to help out their friends and neighbors.

When my wife and I look back at this time in our lives together, we can say that the Lord had (again) been watching over us and put us alongside some really good people in the community! (Oh, and by the way, we were able to look up the fire engine company, (Station # 11) that picked up our drive shaft assembly, and that alone saved us a bunch of money on the repair bill. So, I give a big “thank you” shout-out to the crew at the firehouse on Barclay Ave.

Steven Goodwin
Steven Goodwin
Steve Goodwin is a recently retired Christian conservative veteran (of the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division), who still feels that "duty to country" did not end when the military uniform got hung up. He and his wife Cecelia live on the edge of a beautifully wooded tract of land just south of the bypass, and are involved in not only church activities, but also attend school board meetings and local community action events as well.
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