Community of Support
"Life can change in an instant, because we never thought we’d be here.” In June of 2008, Norman and Tracy Stott woke up to the sound of their neighbor hitting their bedroom window, telling them to get out of bed. They ran to the front door, but when threw it open water started to pour inside their home. Floodwater had swept away pieces of their privacy fence, their vehicles, and even the porch off the front of the house. “It looked like our house had been dropped in a river,” said Norman. Forty-one inches of water filled the house, destroying everything the couple owned.
“Though it was a flood physically, it was a hurricane emotionally,” Norman recalled. “But The Salvation Army of Johnson County stepped in.” The Stotts and their neighbors made it to safety and found The Salvation Army emergency disaster services serving meals from a canteen. “After that, the volunteers stayed there with us to help,” added Tracy. “They provided us with gift cards to buy gas and grocery just to make sure we had what we needed.”
Ten years after Johnson County’s devastating floods, Norman began facing extreme health concerns and was physically unable to continue working in the IT field. “Norman becoming disabled was a hard transition,” explained Tracy. “Like normal people, we had a lot of bills. When we had to adjust to a fixed income, we had to minimize our normal living.” Even after selling one of their cars, the couple continued struggling to make ends meet. They had reached out to various resources in the community but felt like their current situation was not understood. “There is a stigma around not having money to do things,” said Tracy. “People look down on you.”
Remembering the great hospitality of The Salvation Army during the floods, the couple decided to once more turn to the organization for help. “At first, we just came to the food pantry,” added Norman. “The volunteers here were always so friendly and welcoming. You never left feeling shamed about your current situation.” The Salvation Army of Johnson County continued to build a community of support for the Stotts as the couple were forced to make tough decisions.
Just as the Stotts started to feel settled once again, everyday prices began to rise. Gas and groceries quickly exhausted the Stotts’ fixed income. “At one point, we were forced to choose whether to pay for our dog’s unexpected surgery or our car payment,” shared Norman. “The Salvation Army was there to help with our car payment while we cared for the dog.”
Today, Norman and Tracy often reflect on the generosity they’ve been shown by The Salvation Army of Johnson County. “We’ve never left here without a smiling face and an encouraging word,” said Norman. “Whether I become the richest man in the world or I stay just where I am, I will always be a fan of The Salvation Army.” The couple looks to give back to The Salvation Army of Johnson County as a way of showing their appreciation for the help they have received, donating books for a lending library and volunteering when possible. “The Salvation Army feels like family,” Tracy added. “They were always there for us, and we’ll always be there for them."