- Associated Press - Monday, May 18, 2015

LEXINGTON, N.C. (AP) - Sometimes a helping hand comes from the most unexpected sources.

Leigh Gore, co-founder of a Silver Valley-based nonprofit that offers temporary housing for displaced people, said asking for a price quote on a new heating and air conditioning unit turned into a life-changing experience for her and her husband, Doug.

The Planted Seed, which the Gores established in 2009, offers housing for individuals or families who have lost their home to a fire, natural disaster or an economic loss. Leigh Gore said the home has had no heating or air conditioning for the past several months. While obtaining quotes, Southern Services in Lexington went above and beyond what was expected and donated the equipment and labor for a new unit.

“It was the original unit that came with the house, and it finally died out,” Gore said. “We started looking around at how much it would cost to have a new unit, and everywhere we went it was $6,000 or more. . We came up with the idea to have a fundraiser, and it was going pretty good, but we still didn’t have what we needed.

“Brian (Butterfield, salesman for Southern Services) came out and gave us a quote, but it was more than we had raised. He started to ask questions, and he found out that we were a nonprofit. He told us he wanted to talk to some people, and he would get back to us. We were excited because we thought maybe they would give us a reduced rate or something.

“He called back less than a week later and told us they had talked to their distributors, and they were going to donate the unit, and Southern Services would donate the labor. We couldn’t believe it.”

Terry Clendenin, owner and general manager of Southern Services of Lexington, said when Butterfield approached him about helping the Gores with their nonprofit he didn’t even need to think whether it was a worthwhile cause.

“They (the Gores) were not quite where they needed to be, but their current system was really bad, and they needed something immediately,” Clendenin said. “Brian told me about the charity and what they did, so I contacted the manufacturers and asked for their participation in donating the equipment. Storm Electric Co. in Lexington donated the electrical component, and we donated the labor. We spoke to the owners and told them that we would like to donate the system to the home. We like what the charity stands for, and it’s the right thing to do.”

Clendenin said the bottom line for a business is extremely important, but sometimes it is what one invests in the community that generates the biggest return.

“I live in the Central Davidson school district, and I remember when a tornado came through a few years back,” Clendenin said. “It was really bad, and people everywhere were displaced. I have a lot of compassion for someone who is willing to do something like this; it speaks to my heart. We have contributed to charities in the past, but this is one of the bigger donations. We try to be good corporate citizens of the community. We try to do right by our customers and our community.”

The total value of the system that was donated was in the $5,000 to $6,000 range. Gore said the money from the fundraiser went toward much-needed plumbing work and to replace 30-year-old carpeting in the home. She said some missionaries from Haiti are staying at the house and enjoying the newly updated facility.

Gore said she and her husband believed this was beyond just a charitable donation, it was an indication what they were doing for the community was appreciated.

“It was a sign of hope because we had seriously considered just giving up on the whole idea,” Gore said. “We had been struggling to keep it going, and it seemed hopeless. This has shown us not to give up on helping people. If we reach out, you may get rejected, but there are people out that who want to help.

“Our goal is to plant seeds in people that will grow and flourish. Just like the salesman who came to make some money for his business planted this seed in other people to help us. We can never thank (Southern Services) enough. I could bake them a cake and bring them snacks every day, and it still wouldn’t be enough to show our appreciation.”


Information from: The Dispatch, https://www.the-dispatch.com

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