Paying It Forward Makes Life Richer

We discovered something amazing last week.

People love to hear stories of inspiration and hope. As much as you might believe that misery loves company, it turns out that good news is contagious.

We were blown away by the response to the post we had sharing three stories of ordinary people going out of their way to do extraordinary things.

We talked a lot on the phone together last week about how often we hear stories that tug at our heart strings and make us want to *do* something to make the world a better place. Often times, we think, we all feel like whatever it is we could do would be so small or so seemingly insignificant that it wouldn’t really even matter.

But it does matter.

All of it matters. Even what feels like a little thing can turn into a big thing.

Which brings us to a story from a fellow blogger named Jennifer, who blogs at Outsmarted Mommy.

Jennifer is married to a firefighter in New Jersey. She and her husband have two adorable little boys who want to be just like their daddy when they grow up.


She describes their adoration of their daddy just like this…

They beam with pride when we visit daddy at work. They want to be just like him.  My oldest tells all his friends about his daddy and what a hero he is. He is a hero. He is a fire fighter.  To my boys he is the guy who gets to ride on a fire truck at work, wear a uniform and cool boots, climb ladders, and put out fires.  To me he is the center of our family. He is the one my boys jump up and down for when he comes home. He is the one who sits at the dinner table and completes our family of four. He is our rock. He is our heart. He is our hero.

Jennifer knows the danger her husband faces each and every day he leaves for his job. She tries not to think about it, but she knows it is real. On June 30th of this year, she heard the devastating news story of the 19 firemen who lost their lives battling the wildfires in Prescott, Arizona.

In addition to writing this amazing post in tribute to these brave men, she actually decided to go a step further and do something to help. Thousands of miles and multiple states separated her from this tragedy, and yet she knew she could make a difference.

One of the firefighters who died that day was named Andrew Ashcraft. Andrew was married to Juliann and was the proud father of four adorable children. Because of a glitch in paperwork and some bureaucratic red tape, Andrew’s family was not given the full death benefits afforded to a full-time firefighter.

So, in addition to losing her beloved husband and father of her four children, Juliann Ashcraft now found herself in a financially precarious situation.

For Jennifer, hearing this made the story even more devastating. So she tried to help. She has started the process of organizing a 5K in New Jersey to benefit the Ashcraft family. She also found out about a fund started by Andrew’s brother to raise money for the family and has shared it everywhere she can.

When she and her husband were attending a fireman’s convention in Atlantic City, she shared Andrew’s story with the Treasurer of the fireman’s union, the FMBA (Fireman’s Benevolent Association) in New Jersey. He immediately was able to get her $5,000 from a Fallen Heroes 5K he had just participated in, and she will be able to pass that money directly on to Andrew’s family in the next week.

We feel honored to do our part to help a fallen hero’s family in their greatest hour of need. We feel privileged to share the inspiring story of Jennifer and her commitment to help a family all the across the country. The ultimate in paying it forward.


The Best Part is an online community that’s dedicated to brightening your day—every day. How? By spreading optimism, one share at a time. The Best Part posts inspirational stories, encouraging quotes, good news and other upbeat items on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram—and encourages fans and followers to share that optimism with their friends. Because when optimism is shared, it grows, making an even more positive impact on our world. Check out what others are sharing on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.