Millions of families, mainly living in rural areas of the United States, use wood as a primary fuel for heating their homes throughout the winter.
Shane McDaniel, a single dad of six, knew the situation well. He lives in Lake Stevens, Washington, where many of his neighbors use wood as their main heating fuel. It’s not cheap. A cord of wood, roughly 4-feet by 8-feet runs $400.
Because he has his own large family to keep warm in the winter months and a budget to follow, he, along with his twin sons, Harrison and Henry, spent months, last year, chopping and seasoning their own wood–about 40 cords worth. When they were done, they had enough to load 80 pick-up trucks.
McDaniel then logged into his rarely-used Facebook account to post pictures of he and his boys with their saws, axes and their numerous piles of wood.
McDaniel wrote, “IF YOU ARE IN NEED OF FIREWOOD AND CANNOT AFFORD IT, PLEASE PM ME!”
He also asked for others with more wood than they could use to consider donating it to homes without.
“We had our first big freeze now and that’s why this is so important.” He wrote. “If you know someone who BURNS WOOD, and their looking at a cold house this holiday season; maybe someone elderly or with small children in the house…then please help us help them.”
Because he and his sons had cut so much wood, they didn’t have the space to keep it and it was way more than they could use. But, due to the power of social media, his post went viral. People who didn’t have enough wood to get them through the winter reached out to McDaniel for help.
McDaniel gave away the wood free of charge–delivery included!
People from around the world commented on his communal spirit and volunteered to help any way they could.
And, because the fellas are so ruggedly handsome and obviously capable, they even received marriage proposals.
From November throughout the long winter, McDaniel, Harrison and Henry delivered wood all around Lake Stevens.
Although they admitted in The Washington Post the wood splitting was hard, they truly bonded over the work.
One of the recipients was Katelyn Ticer, a single mother of a 3-year-old daughter and living in a mobile home. She was relived to get the wood to feed her stove that serves as her only source of heat. McDaniel delivered a truckload and a half to her home and even gave her a coupon for a chimney sweep.
Ticer said this about the gift,
“To get that much wood and the chimney sweep brought me to tears.
So much stress and anxiety for my daughter is off my shoulders.
I couldn’t be more thankful.”
McDaniel’s charity project didn’t start off as such. Living in, and maintaining rental properties in, a densely wooded area means plenty of opportunity to clear downed trees. In his youth, he was often with his late father chopping and splitting wood. It helped them bond and soon he came to like the chore.
Now, he and his sons have taken up their axes and saws, spending time together, clearing property and serving their community.
Even when people are rude, McDaniel still feels gratitude…
“Some still just say, ‘thanks … put it over there’ and walk back in their house and never say another word or even come back out.
But I’m okay with that. Giving is the reward — it has nothing to do with how well it’s received, but it’s about how much it’s needed.”
Sometimes, help comes in the least expected forms, delivered by pick-up and stacked by rugged men carrying axes.