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How One Family’s Great Generosity Impacted the O’Learys

Alright, well good morning, my friends! Welcome to Wednesday morning (LIVE) with John O’Leary! Always on these Wednesdays, I’m delighted to be with you.

One of my favorite quotes, and I think it’s so true, is from Margaret Mead. She says,

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

I had a reminder of that truth earlier this week. And I think in the marketplace where we all live and work and play right now, and with how divisive everything seems to be, we need that reminder
more than ever.

So, earlier this week, I called a business and I had them send me something. I tell them my address, I give them my first name (John), and then I give them my last name (O’Leary). And the woman on the other side of the phone seems clearly taken aback because I hear an audible gasp.

And then she says, “John, you may not know me, but I certainly know your family. And I know your story.”

She then tells me a little bit about her story, my friends. Here’s what she says.

She says, “John, when you were burned, my mom and dad and our family decided that we wanted to do a little bit more for your family. My dad, in particular, recognized that this little boy is fighting for his life right now in the hospital. The last thing that his family needs is to be fighting for theirs. They needed a place to come together. They needed a place to find solace. They needed a place to be together as one, as a family. A safe place.”

Because he recognized that while I was in the hospital, my mom and dad had nowhere else to stay. The house had been burned down. My siblings, although none of them had been burned, had nowhere else to stay. My brother Jim, my sisters Cadey, Amy, Susan, and Laura, the dog Taffy. None of them had a place to go because our house had been lost.

So, this family, their last name is the Donovans, decided to call my mom and dad at the hospital and say,

“Susan and Denny, you don’t know us well, but we heard about your story and we’d like to move out of our house, so that you can move into it.”

They barely knew my family (I’m going to get emotional thinking about it.). They barely knew our family, but they saw a need. And these incredible leaders, mom and dad, the Donovans, the siblings, moved out of their home in order that my mom and dad and their five kids, who were already enduring so much and struggling so mightily, could come together as one and begin rebuilding the life that they thought had already been taken away from them.

My fight was one thing. It would take place in a hospital I think God would show up in a mighty way. I think Jack Buck and the doctors and nurses and volunteers, everyone would come alongside this little boy in the hospital. That was a beautiful story.

But in so many ways, one of the most powerful aspects of our journey was not what took place in the hospital. It’s what the community did quietly behind the scenes, outside of the hospital.

And one of the greatest stories is of a family moving out of their home so that my mom and dad could move into theirs. It’s a beautiful story, and this week, I had the opportunity of meeting one of the Donovan girls. So, I wanted to thank them today.

I wanted to remind the rest of us of the ability we have in our lives to be profound change agents for good for those around us.

And I wanted to invite you all over right now to check out more evidence of small things that add up to make great difference.

Stephanie Szostak is my guest this week on the Live Inspired podcast. She is a Hollywood actress, she’s an incredible person, she’s got a remarkable story. She’s a phenomenal leader, and her pivot mid-stream
in life will remind the rest of us that we can make changes in our lives too. That little things do matter. You’ll want to learn more about Stephanie and I think it will remind you more about what’s possible in your own life. So, check out Live Inspired with John O’Leary, the podcast. You will love it, I promise!

So, for this time and until next time, this is John O’Leary with the dog behind me.

And this is your day, my friends. Live Inspired.

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