Welch, Oklahoma. I was told it was a very small town with one convenience store and not much else. What I found was not a convenience store and not much else, but a wonderful community full of kind and caring people. Mere words cannot adequately describe what I walked into as I entered the town of Welch, but I will do my best to described all that has happened to me in the last couple of days.
After walking approximately 14 miles in very hot and humid conditions I finally reached the town of Welch at about 6:30 in the evening. Upon exiting a small Dollar General store in town, I approached a young lady to ask if there were any nearby campsites in the area. After telling me no, she introduced herself as Katie Nair, and inquired as to what I was doing. After talking for a few minutes, she called her brother (who is a town councilman) to ask if I could pitch my tent behind the local recreational center for the night. He said he would check with others to be sure it would be okay, after which she proceeded to point me to the local convenience store where she said he would be waiting with an answer.
When I arrived at the convenience store, also known as the “Wood Shed”, her brother told me that it would be fine for me to set up my tent at the recreational center for the night, and that he would let the local sheriff know so he could check up on me during the night. After ordering some food and something to drink I went to the counter to pay, but the owner of the Wood Shed told me I didn’t owe her anything and that she was going to take care of it for me. What a kind lady! After my long walk the food tasted awesome, and it felt great to relax and eat in an air conditioned building after a long, hot day!
Not long afterwards, as I began to set up my tent, a lovely couple came by and said they had read my story in the local newspaper, and wanted to know if they could visit for a few minutes. We had a wonderful conversation, they gave me something to eat, and as they left they promised to pray for me as I continued with my journey. What a blessing it is to have so many wonderful people praying on my behalf.
I had no sooner set my tent up and laid down for the evening when Tammy Chenoweth and her daughter Olivia stopped by to bring me a sandwich and something to drink. Not long afterwards I got two more visits from folks in the community who also brought me something to eat and drink as well. One lovely young lady named Crystal Creech returned along with Katie to let me know they had a place for me to spend the night indoors if I would prefer to do so. Since I was really tired and had already set my tent up, I decided to stay where I was for the night. They then said if I decided to spend more than one night in town I could stay at a vacant apartment in town if I needed to. The next morning another wonderful young lady came by with breakfast and something to drink once again. Folks, I’m really not making any of this up!
After eating breakfast I began to put on my socks, and immediately noticed two very large red spots on each of my legs just above the ankles. While they did not itch, they burned to the touch, and I immediately became very concerned. I had just put my shoes on when another young lady from the local radio station approached me and asked if I would like to tell my story live on the air that morning. I gratefully accepted the offer, and after packing everything into my cart I headed for the radio station. Once there I met Tyson and Jeane Wynn, general managers of KVWO 94.7 FM Radio, the voice of Welch, OK, who were kind enough to let me tell about my journey live on the air. I was not only able to tell folks about my journey and encourage them to give to St. Judes Children’s Hospital, I was also able to tell them about the many ways in which God had taken care of me along the way!
Not only did we have a great visit, but Jeane also took me directly over to the local clinic where they just happened to have a cancellation at exactly the time we walked in (God timing is perfect once again). I was able to be seen almost immediately, was prescribed antibiotics, and was told I needed to stay in town for at least two more days so the doctor could look at my legs again before I resumed my walk. Tyson and Jeane then picked up my prescription for me, paid for it (and would not accept reimbursement) and had it delivered to me. Tyson and Jeane, thank you so much for everything!!!
After I had moved my things to the apartment, Crystal stopped by to bring me dinner and with an offer to do my laundry, as well as to see how I was doing. Not long afterwards, one of the guys who lived next door brought me hot dogs and a hamburger to eat as well. The next morning another neighbor brought me over some coffee. Later that evening, as I was catching up on some reading, Crystal came by yet again to tell me that Katie wanted me to know that both lunch and dinner the following day had been taken care of for me at a local eating establishment call “The Cow”. The following day I had the privilege of dining at “The Cow”, and what a great place to eat! The owners and staff were incredibly friendly, the service was great, and the food was outstanding. If you are ever in Welch, be sure to visit “The Cow”. I promise you it’s worth the visit.
What a truly amazing couple of days, and what a wonderful community of caring people who took care of me like I was one of their own! My every need was met without question, and several people even asked me if I needed new boots. What an amazing community, what wonderful people! The town of Welch, so very much more than just a convenience store.
As I sit here writing this I cannot help but think of what a wonderful place our country would be to live in if we all lived, cared and gave like the folks in this amazing little community. What a difference it would make. If your neighbor needs help, give it to them. If you see a stranger in need, help them. If someone needs prayer, pray for them. Find one person each day who you can help in some way, and you’ll not only make a positive difference in their lives, I promise you it will change your life too. It just takes someone like you to get the ball rolling, and who knows, before long you may have a community of people doing the same thing you are and changing lives forever.
I want to say a Special Thank You to the community of Welch, Oklahoma, and especially to Crystal and Katie, for reminding me of what it means to put others ahead of yourself. You have been an absolute blessing, and I will never forget all of your many kindnesses. You have made a huge difference, and I am truly grateful. May God bless you all!
Always Onward I Walk,