Today is National Random Acts of Kindness Day and we couldn’t think of two people more deserving of praise for their acts of kindness and whole-hearted investment in helping others than former clients, Stephen and Kerry Wilson, and their daughter, Lexi (better known as “Red”).
Steve and Kerry have been friends of the firm for many years. We were able to help Steve with his work comp case and have been there to help guide their family to victory in various other matters. Steve’s powerful testimonial about his experience with RML can be heard in many of the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm commercials.
Every time we have an opportunity to catch up with the Wilson family, we are humbled and at awe by their commitment to creating better, more meaningful lives – not for themselves but for others. For this family, kindness and love in action are not random or unusual, but a consistent and relentless pursuit (despite the hurdles life has placed in their way).
Steve’s Prison Ministry Program
For the last 8 years, Steve and Kerry have ministered to countless men in prison and have simultaneously provided support and spiritual guidance for their families on the outside.
“Teaching them about God’s love for them helps them heal, and it shows them how to truly love others and move forward despite their circumstances,” says Kerry.
When prisoners are released, Steve helps them to find work, he loans out his tools and equipment, provides clothes, food, and community to help these men and their families get back on their feet.
Rehabilitation is a rocky road. Sometimes these men turn away from help. Sometimes things loaned out don’t get returned. Sometimes these men go back. Though these unpredictable outcomes might be disheartening, Steve and Kerry steadfastly cling to their mission of making whole what has been broken and humbly continue their work without bitterness or prejudgment.
Steve knows all about unpredictability. Recently, life threw the Wilson family another curve ball when Steve was diagnosed with Leukemia. He says:
“Cancer is nothing, there are people worse off and cancer won’t stop me from giving.”
His motto –
“Give ‘til it hurts.”
And he does just that: Despite his aches and pains from prior work-related injuries and health issues arising from his recent diagnosis, the hard-working retiree cleans the toilets and scrubs the floors at the local dance studio where his daughter dances to help pay for her lessons. Kerry works 3 jobs to help make ends meet at home and pay for the costs associated with their mission work. When the couple isn’t working or ministering to prisoners, their remaining time is still not their own. They are in constant service to their community and their church.
The Wilson’s Mission to Provide Relief for All in Need
In September of 2019, the Wilsons wanted to do something even closer to home. With the help of lots of volunteers and donated building materials, Steve unbegrudgingly bid farewell to his garage (as he knew it) so the family could open Jesus Provisions Ministries and Care Center. The non-profit provides food, clothes, necessities, worship services, study and support to struggling families across Wilson County.
Since opening, the ministry has helped over 100 families meet their immediate needs. In return, the Wilson’s have never drawn a salary or profited in any way. However, they do get the warm fuzzies with every person they get to help —and that holds worth far beyond what money can buy!
“Everything we have is donated and all tithes and monetary donations are put back into the Center to help the community. We exist on 100% volunteer support,” says Kerry.
Because of what the family went through with Steve’s workers’ compensation case before hiring Rocky, he says:
“Our own experiences have strengthened us for this type of work. We understand what it feels like to have next to nothing and to almost lose everything, including each other. We know as much as anybody that a serious illness, injury, or job loss can change someone’s entire life overnight.”
Steve, Kerry and Red’s ultimate goal is to raise enough to open a shelter in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee to bring un-housed residents off the streets.
“The other night, Steve and another member met up with a woman and her blind son in the pouring rain to help get them in a hotel. The problem is that the very next day she would back on the streets again. If we had a place to take them instead of a costly temporary fix we could do so much more for these folks. So, we are praying that God blesses us with a way to do that.”
Baby Steps for Beginners
“Improving someone’s situation doesn’t always take a whole lot,” says Kerry, “Everyone can do something. The more you do, the more you give, the more you’ll want to give.”
Make a Meal, Make a Memory
Recently, the Wilsons helped a husband and wife by preparing a beautiful Valentine’s Day Dinner. The wife has been house-ridden, struggling with cancer and was finally able to relax and enjoy a special moment with her husband that she would have not otherwise had without the Wilson’s help.
If You Search for Opportunity to Give Back, You’ll Find It
Working hand in hand with other organizations like Compassionate Hands of Lebanon, Ronald McDonald House and the community, the Wilson’s frequently prepare sack lunches, warm blankets, clothes, toys for kids, and other necessities to support folks in homeless tent communities, living in run-down motels, cars and on the streets across Wilson County.
“It was raining and muddy and we climbed hills and found un-housed people in tents in the wooded areas,” says Kerry. “Here, we had the privilege of feeding a veteran and his disabled wife living in a van,” Kerry says pointing to the photograph.
She goes on:
“We feel that in a world going so wrong, we need to be the change. We want to be the change and hope to spread love to others so that others can spread love. Random Acts of Kindness is a taught process that can spread like wildfire. I encourage all of us to be the change. Find someone hurting or lost today. You never know when you can make a difference in someone’s life. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Don’t be a seed inspector, just be the change!”
We are honored to be able to celebrate the Wilson family for loving and giving without borders on National Random Acts of Kindness Day. Grateful for our shared mission of helping others find their way through dark times, we continue to support them in their inspirational endeavors that benefit their community. When times get tough, we know just how powerful it can be to have someone looking out for you. We see the difference it makes every day at Rocky McElhaney Law Firm.
If you’d like to make a tax-deductible donation to the Wilson Family’s ministries, click here.