Hometown Hero Hopes to Influence Others to Help Those In Need

By Melanie Chapman | mchapman@kolr10.com

Published 12/18 2013 08:30PM

Updated 12/18 2013 10:44PM

LEBANON, Mo. – A local businessman spotted a homeless man under a bridge and sparked a journey.

"Hi, this is the Stanfield family and I want to talk about a journey that started about six to eight weeks ago with a total stranger,” says Gene Stanfield in a YouTube video.

It’s a journey that brought a family and a stranger together.

Gene Stanfield saw, Tony Higgins in Lebanon, freezing and desperate, not looking for a handout, but looking for work.

“I was going in circles from shelter to shelter in Des Moines,” says Higgins. “I just wanted a job. A fair shake.”

Gene took Higgins to buy shoes, clothes, a good winter coat and got him into a shelter.

“He immediately went out and got a job,” says Gene.

But the journey wasn't over for these newfound friends.

“ Living in our world of having all the luxuries, I never really had a grasp of what it could possibly be like,” says Gene. “It chokes me up. It’s just humbling to see where he came from and start to look at the system. And it's like great he's got a place to stay now, but how does one ever get ahead?”

So Gene went to Facebook and called on his friends to help him find an affordable car for Tony. He also asked his kids to give up their Christmas money to help buy the gift for Tony and they happily said yes.

“So far he's become a friend and when you become a friend you become part of the family,” says Hunter Stanfield. “And we treated him like family and it's just awesome.”

As for Tony, he never asked for help and kept refusing it, but now admits he needed it.

“The shelters are overwhelmed everywhere in America. In Iowa and Missouri,” says Higgins. “Just the stuff I'd experienced. They're overwhelmed; there are a lot of people that need help. And I appreciate everything these people have done for me you know.

The Stanfield family recorded the story in hopes others would feel compelled to reach out to those in need.

Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Featured Coupon


Featured Business