It’s fair to say that electricity is so ever-present in our lives that we take it for granted. In fact, we don’t even truly notice how much we need it until it’s gone. This bitter realization faced the Lemonds family when they experienced power troubles in their property. Thankfully, they got help from an unexpected source.
To be more specific, an apprentice electrician arrived almost as if in answer to the churchgoing couple’s prayers. Not only did this apparent guardian angel look at the family’s technical problems, he also helped fix them. In addition, the tradesman asked nothing in payment for his expertise.
However, the grateful family wanted to repay the electrician’s kindness in some way anyway. With that in mind, they invited the young man back to their home for an unspecified reason. Perhaps he thought that they had more work for him, but instead they had a surprise thank you in store.
The couple in question are husband Josh and wife Stacy Lemonds, who live in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The two are actually part of a church marriage group that puts them in contact with local people. Indeed, that was how they originally met their own personal savior.
Unfortunately, the Lemondses experienced a run of bad luck coming into 2019. They both found themselves unemployed, and that was just the start of things. You can imagine the couple’s surprise when their electric heating system abruptly failed them one day. The circumstance had struck at the worst possible time.
As a result, the Lemondses found themselves facing the winter weather without any heating. “We came home, and it was really cold in here. Why is the heat not running?” Stacy recalled in an interview with KFOR Oklahoma’s News 4 that year. A quick investigation revealed the source of the problem.
“Well, we looked at it, and it was a blank screen,” Stacy said of the heating unit. “It was like, uh oh.” But what could have caused the issue in the first place? Perhaps the answer lies partly in the house’s age. Builders originally constructed it in 1945.
Furthermore, it wasn’t the first time the Lemondses had experienced electrical trouble in their home. “Those lights right there were flickering,” Stacy said, pointing to the living room fixture. “We didn’t have any use of this light over here,” she added, indicating a table lamp. So it would appear that they suffered from a wiring problem.
Of course, considering their difficult financial situation, the Lemonds family had limited options. So, being people of faith, they decided to turn to a higher power for help. Stacy elaborated, “We started praying, and saying, ‘God, what is this?” She and her husband also put a call out to their church marriage group.
The Lemonds couple asked their fellow marriage group members for prayers to help them in their hour of need. They received more than they hoped for, though. That is to say, another member of the group – a man whom they had met merely weeks before – responded quickly.
That person was Joshua Matthews, who experienced misfortune not long before the Lemondses’ own. When Matthews’ wife fell ill, the Lemonds couple were on hand to help in their own kindhearted way. They took a meal around to the young man’s house as a friendly gesture from them both.
Before beginning his current line of work, Matthews had served as a soldier in the U.S. army. Specifically, he was a member of the 45th Infantry Division, in which he had experienced two tours of Afghanistan. However, when he left the army, the former soldier found his calling in a new profession.
Despite their prior meeting, the Lemondses didn’t know what Matthews did for a living. The couple only found out when he texted them in answer to their prayer request. Serendipitously, a local company called Dane Electric actually employs the former serviceman as an apprentice electrician.
Stacy said, “He [Matthews] chimed in, like, within five minutes of the text. He told us, ‘Hey, do you know I’m an electrician? Let me come over.’ He lives only ten minutes away.” The Lemonds couple happily accepted the offer, and soon Matthews was at their property assessing the electrics.
Unfortunately, the Lemonds property’s situation was worse than perhaps they realized. “[Matthews] came over and looked at it, and said, ‘There’s some big problems here,’” Stacy recollected. Indeed, the electrician thought it wise to call in Oklahoma’s official energy board for a second opinion. Oklahoma Gas and Electric (OG&E) paid a visit that same day.
Stacy continued, “And so that night OG&E came out. They pulled the meter and said it was a fire hazard, and they would not allow us to have electricity until it was fixed.” Since the Lemonds were already in a tight financial situation, they couldn’t afford alternative accommodation.
Not only were the couple stranded in a house without electricity in winter, but they had another concern too. They didn’t know how they were going to pay for the electrical services they’d need to repair the property. Meanwhile, Matthews had already started work rewiring their electrical system.
Matthews seemed determined to get the Lemonds property operational again. “We sat out it the car in the rain watching him,” Stacy recalled. “It was cold, and it’s like, man, I hope he doesn’t hurt himself. Because he’s going up those aluminum ladders, and we don’t want him to slip and fall in the dark.”
Meanwhile, the Lemonds couple’s car was only a temporary solution to their accommodation problem. Matthews’ electrical job would actually take several days at least. But other people from the family’s church marriage group answered their prayers. Generous friends arranged a hotel room for them to stay in for the work’s duration.
With the Lemonds family safely away from their dangerous electrical situation, Matthews worked hard on their property. And the electrician wasn’t just working for several days; he stayed there until midnight sometimes too. All in an attempt to get the 1945 house – which still had much of its original wiring – up to code.
Of course, Matthews didn’t have to do the whole job alone. Christian Harbison, a journeyman electrician who works with Matthews at Dane Electric, also helped out. Between them, the tradesmen managed to overhaul the Lemonds property’s electrical system. But there was still the question of how their clients were going to afford the work.
It turns out that the Lemonds needn’t have worried – Dane Electric considered the rewiring an act of charity. It did all the work completely pro bono, so the couple didn’t have to pay a penny. Both Stacy and her husband couldn’t praise Matthews highly enough, as she told KFOR.
“He’s just an amazing friend and a servant of God,” Stacy said of Matthews. “He’s really a servant.” It would seem that despite leaving the armed forces, Matthews is still actively helping the people of his country. He certainly made a difference in the Lemondses’ lives.
As a result, the grateful family set their minds to the puzzle of how to repay Matthews’ kindness. It just so happens there was a way with a KFOR-TV News Channel 4 program called Pay It 4ward. The channel collaborates with its sponsor First Fidelity Bank to reward selfless acts.
The channel further elaborates on its website. “Pay It 4Ward is a program through which KFOR-TV viewers can nominate deserving friends, colleagues and acquaintances who have fallen on hard times or have been making a positive impact in the community,” it explains. But there’s a physical gift in conjunction with the karmic one.
“Each week someone will receive $400 cash because one of their fellow Oklahomans wants to Pay It 4Ward,” KFOR writes. That sounded like an ideal way for the Lemonds to show Matthews what his kindness meant to them. And with that, they contacted KFOR, who agreed that the electrician deserved a reward.
But everyone involved wanted the Pay It 4ward nomination to be a surprise. So how could they get Matthews’ attention without giving the game away? Well, KFOR had an idea. It contacted Dane Electric and asked it to send the electrician to the Lemonds home again.
KFOR wanted Matthews to have the impression that he was visiting the Lemondses for a routine inspection. So that’s what Dane Electric told him. But little did he know there was more to his summons than that. Matthews would get quite the surprise when he attended the property with Harbison and another colleague.
Prior to the electricians’ visit, though, Tammy Brakebill – the branch manager of First Fidelity Bank – had something for Stacy. She paid a visit to hand over the cash award for Matthews’ Pay It 4ward. KFOR recorded the moment on the Pay It 4ward award video, which captured the reactions of all involved.
“We at First Fidelity Bank would like to give you $400 to pay it 4ward to [Matthews],” Brakebill told Stacy. Mrs. Lemonds was clearly moved, and thanked her benefactor for the gift. Matthews got the real surprise when he arrived at the home shortly after, though.
When the electrician visited, Stacy told him there was something in the other room that she wanted him to see. Much to his confusion, a woman Matthews didn’t recognize approached from the other room. She introduced herself as Heather Holeman from channel 4, and proceeded to explain what was going on.
“You’re here for a reason,” Holeman announces. “Surprise! We have a program called Pay It 4ward, and that is for people who do great things for others. Like you have done for the Lemonds family,” she explains to the surprised electrician. “And so, Stacy has something she’d like to give you.”
“I’ve got something for you,” a tearful Stacy says, approaching Matthews. “Thank you so much for taking care of our electric. We appreciate you, and so we have $400 to pay it 4ward for you.” At this point, emotion overcomes Stacy as she hands over the money to a humble Matthews.
For his part, Matthews looks touched by the Lemondses’ gesture. “You don’t have to do this,” he tells Stacy, but she’s adamant that he takes the money. “No, we do,” she responds. “We want to give back something. Bless you guys,” she says to both Matthews and his present Dane Electric colleagues.
One of the other electricians responds, “Glad we were able to help,” before Matthews wraps Stacy up in a big hug. When she questions Matthews about why he had thought they had called him back, he confesses his confusion. “I had no idea what was going on,” he laughs.
Matthews also embraces Josh Lemonds, who was present for the Pay It 4ward award and heartily thanks the electrician. Afterwards, though, the former soldier admits that he doesn’t think he did anything special. “They needed help,” he said of the Lemondses. “It’s just what anyone should do.”
“So, just like you served your country, you also serve your friends?” Holeman asked Matthews. “Yes ma’am, absolutely,” he responded without hesitation. KFOR also spoke to Harbison about how he kept the Pay It 4ward award a secret from his colleague. He revealed that it hadn’t been easy.
Harbison laughed, “I had a tough time biting my tongue.” So what had the Dane Electric crew done to make the Lemondses’ house operational again? Matthews briefly explained the process to KFOR. In addition, he pointed out some of the changes they made to the wiring system on the property’s exterior.
Matthews gestured to the wires going up the Lemondses’ walls. “There’s brand new wires going up, because they were corroded and ate up a little bit. And then new wires on into the inside of the house, and just cleaned everything up.” So now the Lemonds couple have fully functioning electrical heating and outlets.
As for Stacy and her husband, they’re just grateful for the generous nature of Matthews and Dane Electric. With friends like that, they’ll never be left out in the cold again. “It’s been humbling,” Stacy concluded. “But it’s been also an amazing experience to see people who love. And just love because they love and just give.”