I have chosen to “pay it forward” to a special young woman. She is a vibrant, talented 28 year old. Like many folks we know, she has 2 jobs. Since neither position is full time, she has limited health care benefits and limited medical leave available to her.
In 2018, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, requiring surgery and extensive treatment. She has continued on with her life and work bravely – her amazing smile makes it seem okay. She has steadfastly told us she’s going to be fine and we needn’t worry.
Recently she received news that her cancer has recurred and her treatment plan will be complex. Though her life has become more difficult lately, her spirit is unwavering.
I’m grateful to be able to help her a little on her journey. Thank you for the opportunity.
The foundation that I chose to give my donation to was Working Dogs for Conservation. This amazing nonprofit organization does so many wonderful things for communities around our country, as well as overseas. They provide second chances to dogs that most people would deem hopeless or out of control. The dogs are then trained as detection dogs, in which they protect endangered species, prevent poaching and preserve at-risk environments. If the dog is unable to perform then W.D.F.C will find them a new loving home, which is how I found my best friend Titan!
It is important what this foundation does on so many levels. Not only does it save the lives of so many dogs, but they help protect the lives of many other creatures as well as preserving our beautiful lands. I am so thankful for the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation for providing me the chance to donate to such an incredible cause.
If anyone is curious about this organization, interested in adopting, or knows of a dog that could help I encourage you to check out their website.
I donate my card to the Ramsey Keller Memorial. This foundation pays for infant funerals up to a year old.
Giving it to a 33 year old mother of 2 who is battling with cancer.
Jase Leister was born in January 2018 and was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Apert Syndrome. It occurs once in every 80,000-100,000 births, ten in a million! Apert Syndrome causes a multitude of different issues but the main ones are premature fusion of the skull, fusion of the hands and feet, and underdeveloped midfacial bones (causing breathing and eating difficulties). In Jase it has also caused several heart abnormalities. He faces many, many complicated and risky surgeries in his future and has already had 5 in his short life, including 2 open heart surgeries, two nasal surgeries, and one cranial reconstruction. Despite all his obstacles and hardships Jase is a happy, bright baby boy who enjoys life and strives to overcome anything in his way.
Jase’s family travels far and often to major children’s hospitals to get him the care he needs as local care doesn’t have the capabilities to perform the lifesaving surgeries he requires. The Leister’s love for their sweet boy and his sisters (Ellie 4yrs old, Scarlett 2 yrs old) is endless but money unfortunately is not. They appreciate any and all help. Your love, prayers, and support get them through some of their hardest times and they are forever grateful! Follow Jase’s journey and all of the ups and downs on Facebook.
I donated my card to the Heritage Museum in Libby, MT to be used to help raise funds for a matching grant from the Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development, for the restoration of the J. Neils Lumber Company logging locomotive #4 that the museum is restoring to operational condition. The ‘Four Spot’ is a significant piece of history for north-west Montana, hauling logs from the forest to the mill in the Libby area from 1909 to 1946; timber that was milled and used to build and develop the north-west United States during two World Wars. In addition to being a historical and engineering artifact, it is also important for new generations of Montanans to experience the mechanical wonder that is a “Shay” locomotive, and inspire these youth to help volunteer during the restoration and operation of the locomotive, and put them on a path to a career in metal working, welding, or machining.
I donated $150 to an organization here in Spokane called Love 11. After losing their son in an accident Memorial Day weekend 2016, Micah Love’s parents started the Love 11 organization because of their son’s love for year-round sports. They award grants and scholarship commitments to youth sports organizations, schools and local programs in our community. They offer a chance for low-income and underprivileged kids, schools and neighborhoods to play sports regardless of social, cultural, or economic background.I donated $350 to American Childhood Cancer Organization Inland Northwest, which is near and dear to my heart. My niece, Marleigh, was diagnosed with AML leukemia in 2012 and after 14 months, after just turning 5 years old, passed away. ACCOIN provided support from diagnosis and still do today. For families who are given the childhood cancer diagnosis, their lives are instantly changed and are sent into a whirlwind of hospital stays, tests, procedures, medications, etc. The families often go from a 2 income household to 1 (or 1 to 0) and finances take a hit. ACCOIN helps the families by giving them a new patient stay bag at diagnosis, including basic toiletries, toys and activities for the kids, gas and grocery cards. They offer emergency financial assistance for household bills, support with finances during holidays, they also host family support nights, day camp, support lunches, etc. They also provide emotional support for survivors, siblings, and bereaved parents. I could never repay ACCOIN for how they have helped my family and I am happy to donate to them!
I gave my card to JR Vezain, a Montana rodeo bareback rider was paralyzed in September 2018. JR is expecting a new baby, due May 2019.
This year I donated my “Pay it Forward” gift card to Mended Little Hearts of Montana during their 5th annual Valentines Day Heart Bash fundraiser. Mended Little Hearts of Montana celebrates, and supports, little ones who are coping with the challenges of congenital heart disease.In November of 2018, my 6 year old son Triston was diagnosed with pre-excitation with an accessory pathway in his heart. A birth defect we were unaware that he had. This can cause his heart to go into arrhythmia. Luckily, he hasn’t had any symptoms, and with further testing, he doesn’t need any intervention done at this time.
Congenital heart defects are the most common birth defects in the United States. This has made our family more aware of how many little ones Mended Little Hearts supports in our community, many whom we know personally.
Thank you Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation for this program and your generosity!
I would first, like to thank Dennis and Phyllis Washington and the Foundation. It is quite an honor to work for a company that share so much of their time and money on so many charitable causes that many people never hear about. This program is one of them. This year I am giving my card to a couple that are friends with my son. Here is my story.My son moved to Wyoming some time ago with the promise of a job once he got there. After getting to Wyoming, he soon found out that the job would not be available until after the first of the year. Now he is stuck in a town, with very little money, no job and no place to live. He has worked there in the past, so he did know a couple people there. The couple I am talking about, took him into their home and treated him like family. They were already having a hard time, because the father has had 2 heart attacks in the past 6 months and has a wife and 3 small children he is already worrying about, since he is unable to go back to work, himself. It didn’t stop them from taking in my son, so he could have a place to stay, food on the table and a warm bed to sleep in at nights. Because of the kindness of these people, my son now has a good job at a mine there, and I would like to “Pay it Forward” to these people that did the same for my son. Thank you again for being the caring people you are, that makes it easier to be the kind of people, we all need to be. Again, thank you.
Dave Silk, recipient story
The purpose of the Council on Aging is to advise the Board of Commissioners on all needs and interests of senior citizens over the age of 60 residing in Custer County. The goal is to help our senior citizens stay healthy and happy and able to live in their own homes as long as they want to. We manage several programs ourselves, and have information on many others that may be helpful to seniors.Services we provide directly include Home Delivered Meals (also known as Meals on Wheels); Congregate Meals, Senior Commodities, Transportation Assistance, Health Promotion programs, and home visits by Skilled Nurses, Personal Care Assistants, and Homemakers.
I chose to contribute my giving card to Warriors & Quiet Waters Foundation. This organization takes Post-9/11 combat veterans who are dedicated to making a positive change in their life and provides therapeutic programs and experiences all based on the sport of fly fishing at the Quiet Waters Ranch near Bozeman, MT. Different programs provide fishing instruction, meals, therapy, goal planning, and general guidance to combat veterans and their spouses that have been affected with a mental or physical disability resulting from their time spent overseas. Their Mission: “Through the experience of fly-fishing in Montana, WQW is a catalyst for positive changes in the lives of post-9/11 combat veterans.”As an avid fly-fishermen, I understand both the healing nature of the sport and the ability it has to focus and reset the mind, especially in times of chaos. Having military family members return from several tours overseas, I understand the responsibility we all have to ensure every member is taken care of when they get home and given the tools required to lead a full and rewarding life going forward. Using fly-fishing as a tool to help heal the mind and body, establish future goals, and provide a means of relaxation and comfort is a tremendous gift they are providing to very deserving people.
Since 2007, WQW has provided over 705 Fishing Experiences to combat veterans and spouses/caregivers from across the nation.
I would like to thank the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation for giving me this opportunity to Pay It Forward. I gave my Pay It Forward gift card to the family of a little girl who was severely injured in an accident – here is an excerpt of her story that I copied from her Go Fund Me page:On the morning of Tuesday, November 6th, Jewell was waiting at her bus stop, and started crossing the street to meet the bus as it approached. Unfortunately, a passing car was unable to stop when she ran into the road, and she was struck by the car.
Jewell was taken to Missoula’s St. Patrick Hospital for immediate care, and then life flighted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for ongoing medical treatment.
Jewell sustained multiple injuries in the accident – a brain injury with swelling and bleeding, a fractured vertebrae, skull fracture, broken eye socket, nose and jaw, fractures to her clavicle, pelvis and foot. Despite all of these conditions, she has proven to be too tough to give up, making progress every day.
Beyond medical expenses, there will be months of therapy and doctors’ visits in her road to final recovery.
I couldn’t think of a better recipient than Erin and Misty Peterson. Jordan, their daughter, recently required a back surgery that would need to be performed in Salt Lake City. While the surgery was a success, further tests showed her liver was not functioning as it should. It was recommended that she either be placed on dialysis or receive a liver transplant. The family returned to Laurel with some heavy decisions to weigh. They plan to return to Salt Lake in March for a return visit for tests and possibly dialysis. The Pay it Forward card can hopefully ease the financial burden they are about to encounter. Thank you for the opportunity help those in need through the Pay it Forward Program.
Thank you Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation for this Pay It Forward card. This year I have decided to help 2 families that have been down on their luck. My wife has taken the time to get grocery lists from them and we have purchased food to make there lives a little better. Thank you again, they truly appreciate it.
I gifted the money to the Seattle Union Gospel Missions. They delegated the money to go towards maintenance on their “love vans” These vans go out 7 nights a week throughout the Seattle are. They give out food, clothing and hygiene products to people in need. As well as offering immediate pick up of Men/Women & Children that want or need of the streets.
I will be donating my card to a 33 year old mother of 2 who is fighting a battle with cancer. I thank the Foundation for their generosity. Families having to go through these battles are hard enough, let alone having to struggle with finances at the same time. One day at a time. Thanks Much.
We decided to give the money to a family with a sweet little girl battling leukemia. The family is from Missoula, but is doing all the treatment in Kalispell. We are all praying a speedy recovery for this brave young lady.
I donated my giving card to help for homeless pets in Billings. My wife and I also matched the amount of the card to help take care of all the critters that Angie Cook and her staff watch over. Angie provides a safe haven for these pets and finds them good homes to go to.
I have given my “Pay it Forward” card to Doug Fink, Billings Parts Counter Salesman. Doug was diagnosed with colon and liver cancer in October of 2018 and so far has gone through four rounds of chemo and recently was in Denver for surgery to remove the tumor from his liver. He will soon start four more rounds of chemo and then will return to Denver to have surgery to remove the tumor from his colon. He will then have to go through four more rounds of chemo.
This donation will be used to help cover some of the medical and travel expenses Doug and his family have incurred fighting this disease.
In 2017, a family in Seeley was given the worst news a parent can get. On June 30, 2017, their three year old little girl, Addy, was diagnosed with DIPG, a rare inoperable brain tumor. She was given 9-12 months to live. Our community supported this family and watched them go through this terrible ordeal. Addy passed away in November 2018. The family has asked that we all help increase the awareness of this terrible disease, and that if we want to make a contribution, to contribute to Seattle Children’s Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Fund. 100% of the donations go directly to research being done at Children’s Hospital. Addy’s family donated cells from her tumor to the hospital prior to any treatment, and they have been able to learn so much from these cells. This family has been through a lot, and being able to donate to this research campaign and to raise awareness of this disease means a lot to me. A am grateful for the Foundation and Washington Companies for allowing us the opportunity to Pay it Forward.
I chose Partnership for Children. A Missoula based company working with families to build healthy relationships. A lot of children with family trauma issues. A lot of children taken from their home due to drug and abuse issues. They have two therapy homes in Missoula. Rosemary Gallagher Children’s Home and Missoula Sunrise Children’s Home. They’ve helped an enormous amount of children work thru a difficult time of their lives.
I gave my card to Doug Fink. Doug has been with Modern since 2005 and was diagnosed with cancer last fall. He has been undergoing treatment in Billings and Denver. This donation from the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation will be used to offset some of the expenses Doug and his family have incurred while battling this disease. Thank you!
This card was used to pay for East Travel Club to go on an Educational trip to New York City and Boston this May.
Thank you so much Dennis and Phyllis for your generous donation. This is a class act foundation and an even more amazing company to work for.
Again, Thank you for all you do.
My “Pay It Forward” donation card is going to the youth girls softball organization Montana Extreme. This card will help ensure each and every youngster on this team will have the funding they will need to participate fully. I’ve seen first hand how hard each and every one of these young ladies work. They all deserve to be there. The future is bright with these girls.
Good Luck on your season girls!!
Thank you for the opportunity to Pay It Forward. I gave the gift to a young woman battling cancer. In less than a year, this young woman went through surgery, chemotherapy, and after treatment received news that the cancer spread. With the initial diagnosis, medical expenses and missing work created a financial burden. Now with news that the cancer has spread, she has been referred to doctors elsewhere; and, the financial burdens will increase. My hope is that this gift creates some financial relief and she finds comfort in the knowledge that the entire Washington Corporation family is thinking of her.
I decided to give my Pay It Forward Giving Card to the Larson Family, Ashley and Gerry Larson. Their little girl Lindsey, who is 6 years old, came down with a sudden illness. They rushed her to the hospital and progressively started to get worse. She started getting red lesions/blisters all over her body including her eyes, mouth and genitals. They sewed pieces of placenta around her eyes to protect them. Doctors couldn’t figure out what it was.
They had many ideas but were ruling them out as multiples tests were being performed on her. The longer they went, the more stumped they were becoming. Her symptoms were fitting a few ideas but they were not fitting 100% so the doctors didn’t want to give an definitive diagnosis unless all the symptoms fit. Lindsay was not able to open her eyes or be able to feed herself. They had to insert a catheter and a feeding tube to keep her stabilized.
After about 2 weeks she started to get better, slowly but surely. She was able to start to try and feed herself. She spent a little over 2 weeks in the hospital. During the time Lindsay was in the hospital her mother, Ashley, was staying with her constantly while her husband Gerry took care of their toddler daughter, Laney, as well as them both running a cattle ranch. To say they had a lot on their plate was an understatement.
Modern Machinery Rochester Branch, after finding out what was going on, began to take donations to give to the family such as clothes, coloring books and pencils and anything that would help the little girl feel better as well as the family. Multiple people also donated PTO since Ashley was close to running out and we knew she was not going to be at work for a little longer. She works in parts. We also brought together cash donations. We came together as a family to help Ashley and her family because here in Rochester, we are all a family and we come together to help each other in time of need.
Lindsey is a budding artist and absolutely loves coloring and drawing. Her artwork can be seen all over the branch in select offices. She is Modern’s Picasso. She is often at the branch drawing and coloring beautiful pictures and has been doing so since she was very young so to say she has grown up here is a very accurate statement. Many people in the branch have known her since birth and have watched her blossom into a beautiful and thoughtful little girl. To say her falling ill effected us is a vast understatement. I feel as if she is my own and I’m sure many would agree.
Lindsay got well enough to where she was able to go home. She has been home for about 2 weeks and is getting stronger and better every day. She is already back at school. Doctors still couldn’t pin point exactly what was causing her illness other than diagnosing her with lesions of the skin and mucosal membranes. All I know is she is the bravest and strongest little girl I know and it was my honor to donate my giving card to her and her family.
Many thanks to Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation for giving me the ability to help my friend in need!
I chose Anaconda Montana’s youngster Kasey Morley to receive my giving card. Kasey was born with a severe cleft palate and skull. Kasey has had several surgeries and many medical procedures. These include repairing his skull, palate, orbital and facial bones, nasal passage and hands. He will be having many more surgeries in the future. Travel expenses for Kasey’s medical appointments are the families biggest struggle.
I had not yet met Kasey but recently started following his “Friends of Kasey Morley” site on Facebook. Kasey’s mom describes his journey on this site and when I was chosen to get a giving card I immediately wanted to pick this family. I contacted Kasey’s mom and went to the family’s resident. I got to meet an amazing young boy. He was so talkative, friendly and full of hugs. You cant help but to fall in love with him! I also met his mom, dad and his brother Kaleb who were all very thankful.
Thank you Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation for giving me the joy of “Paying It Forward”. It was a very “feel good” moment!
I used my Pay it Forward card to help out Mike Phyfield and his family, he was hit by a truck on Harrison Ave in Butte, MT on 1/18/19. He is still in the hospital in Billings with lots of doctor bills and has a long recovery ahead.
Thank You for this opportunity to pay it forward.
In checking the We Care section of the Missoulian I came across the story of an 83 year old vet who had to have his teeth removed and now needed money to purchase dentures. I donated the $500 Pay-it-Forward gift towards the $2,400 cost of his dentures.
Thank you for allowing me to take part in the pay it forward giving campaign again this year. My wife Caryn and i donate to some great causes and organizations throughout the year, and with this card initially I was going to donate it to one of our usual worthy organizations. I was strolling through social media one day and came across the Casting Shadows Foundation that a Facebook friend Gary Schild and his friend Ben Sharbono had started. I read the story of why they started the foundation….while Gary was at Bens fathers funeral the Pastor asked “Have we seen a decline in the importance, that we as a society place on both fatherhood, and young people having adult male mentors to follow and look up to in their lives? That is the question the Pastor posed. If so, and he implied, as this older generation passes will this trend continue?”
This brought back memories of the role models in my life that I looked up to. Not having children of our own, I hope to be one of those role models to my nieces and nephews, and I hope this gift can help someone else become a strong role model.
From their Facebook page: “The concept is simple. We want to promote the importance of fatherhood, and young growing minds to have strong adult male mentors to look up to. We want to encourage father’s, uncle’s, stepfather’s, teacher’s and big brother’s, to step up and be positive strong role models. They are always looking up.
To encourage the importance of respect, and making good decisions. To protect and make them feel safe. A person they can come to in times of need. To give a young woman confidence and strength in herself, and a young man a lesson in how to honor and respect their mother, and their sister and their future wives and girlfriends.”
“The mission of the Casting Shadows Foundation will be to provide guided, free of charge, fly fishing trips to young people (boys or girls) along with their father, stepfather, big brother, or some other male mentor. Just a day on one of Montana’s beautiful rivers fly fishing, or learning to fly fish, spending time, talking, building and strengthening relationships.
Some of our trips will be just a reward to an absolutely outstanding father, or mentor, and chance to strengthen that relationship. Some will be for young people desperately seeking a mentor, or father figure in in their lives.”
And finally a note from Gary on their foundation page:
I received a message a few weeks ago from a Facebook friend Gregg Cooney. He so graciously wanted to donate a $500 “pay it forward” gift card he received from his work at Rail Link. He noted how Casting Shadows brought up all of the fond hours he spent fishing with his dad, grandad, and uncle growing up. I’ve never met Gregg in person but appreciate his kind cyber friend heart.
So with this, I got ahold of my friend Taylor that owns the Missoulian Angler. He is such a kind and generous young guy himself. Already a strong supporter of what we are doing here. I know from having fished and floated with him what an awesome role model he has in his father. And now a new baby to pass those traits on to.
Anyway for the $500 Taylor was able to get us into 6 quality rod and reel combos worth nearly twice that. They carry a lifetime warranty. Just really good quality rods and reels.
We are planning six float trips this summer and thanks to the generosity of Gregg, and Taylor, and the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation (and Rail Link). Every single child that takes a trip with us this summer will take with them this beautiful brand new rod and reel set up. Ready to go.
Hopefully at least a few will use this opportunity as a steppingstone to take on the wonderful pastime of fly fishing and who knows maybe someday pass that down to their children fondly recalling where it all began.
That is really what we want to be about.
I chose the American Cancer Society Relay For Life as my charitable cause because cancer affects everyone. My girlfriend is a member of the Butte Relay For Life volunteer committee and I want to support their fundraising efforts. The American Caner Society saves lives, celebrates lives, and leads the fight for a world free of cancer. Locally they provide cancer patients with free rides to treatment, free lodging for those that must travel, and 24/7 resources and support.
We used the Pay it Forward donation to Centennial Ice Arena in Billings MT. The Ice Arena has been struggling for many years with increasing cost of maintenance due to the age of the building. This $500 will be used for supplies to fix some of the delayed repairs due to funds.
I decided to gift my card to a family in Whitehall, MT who’s primary provider was diagnosed with cancer. They have 3 young girls to support and have been making multiple long term trips to Salt lake for treatment. The card will no doubt help with day to day expenses and hotel stays.
I Chose to donate my giving Card to the Eagle mount Cancer Survivor Flight Camp.
Every year, Summit Aviation in Bozeman, Montana, hosts four young cancer survivors for a week-long Cancer Survivor Flight Camp. The campers, who are all young adult survivors of childhood cancer participating in Eagle Mount Bozeman’s Big Sky Kids program, will get to live their dream of taking flight! Throughout the course of the week, these individuals aren’t just passengers along for the ride as each participant learns the basics of aviation, how to manipulate aircraft controls, goes on a cross-country flight over Yellowstone National Park, and even has the opportunity to perform his or her own take offs and landings! The daily itinerary includes breakfast briefings and themed lunches, one-on-one instruction with some of Summit’s premier Certified Flight Instructors, ground school courses, behind-the-scenes airport tours, local and scenic tours, and over 10 hours of flight time in Summit’s state-of-the-art Diamond aircraft. The camp is completely donation funded and every cent received goes straight towards helping to cover the costs of food, fuel, and other Camp necessities. For these individuals, who have braved the challenges of diagnosis and treatment, the Flight Camp is a chance to escape limitations and experience the freedom of flight!
I chose to give my gift card to the YMCA of Gallatin Valley in support of the youth sports programs they provide. Many kids who participate in their programs are unable to afford the fees associated with them. The YMCA uses the scholarship program to help pay for their enrollment. This contribution will help many kids grow, thrive, and learn that otherwise may not have had the opportunity.
Bitterroot Winter Special Olympics is a local organization helping local people using local volunteers and donations. Started in 1981 with twelve athletes, a handful of volunteers provided a cross country ski venue for adults and children with physical and mental challenges. Since then it has grown into a very popular winter event.
In January of 2019 the Bitterroot Winter Special Olympics hosted 141 athletes representing 16 schools and other organizations, with over 200 coaches and support people and 200 plus volunteers. Cross country skiing, downhill skiing and snowshoes races were the events provided at Lost Trail Powder Mountain over a two day period. A banquet and dance is also hosted by the Olympic organizers at the Bitterroot River Inn.
Bitterroot Winter Special Olympics raises the majority of its funding by hosting the annual Hacker Golf Tournament at the Hamilton Golf Club in September each year. Donations from local businesses and individuals help provide the funds needed to keep this popular event going every January.
The Bitterroot Winter Special Olympics is truly a grassroots organization promoting competition, friendship and joy between athletes, coaches and volunteers alike.
My mother in-law, Marla Hennequin, has been a volunteer on the steering committee for 33 years.
We would like to say a very grateful thank you for the pay it forward program. We gave or gift card to 15 year old Jayden Lewis, who was very recently diagnosed with osteosarcoma, known as cancer of the bone. The cancer had started out in his pelvis and has already spread to his spine. The costs of his treatment are and will be extensive as well as the flights back and forth from Billings MT to Salt Lake City UT. Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to help them out!
I chose to give the $500 gift card to the Missoula Food Bank. With the long winter this year, I thought there would a greater need for families that rely on the Food Bank. Missoula Food Bank has been serving the Missoula community for many years. With this donation, it will help the Food Bank continue to provide food to families in desperate need. Thank you to the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation for this program.
This year I donated my card to Valicity Once Upon A Time Charity. Each year they hold a Princess Ball in honor of their daughter Valicity who passed away at age 5 after battling leukemia for 2 1/2 years. This year was the ninth annual Princess Ball. Each year they choose one of 3 charities to give the money too. Ronald McDonald House Charities, Angel flight West or The Montana Hope Project. This year the money went to the Ronald McDonald House Charities. In the last eight year they have raised over $460,000 for these charities. It is nice to see that they were able to turn a sad event into something positive, to be able to give back to the community.
Thomas Slagle is a 2013 graduate of Joliet high school, in Joliet, MT. He has a twin brother, William. Both Thomas and William have Klinefelter syndrome, which is an extra x chromosome. They both have struggled with many medical problems for most of their lives.
In June of 2018, it was discovered that Thomas had a massive brain tumor. He was flown from Billings, MT to Denver CO where he underwent a 12 hour surgery. The tumor was so large that the doctors were only able to remove half of it. They planned for Thomas to recover for a couple of weeks and then remove the remaining tumor. Unfortunately, Thomas became very ill with pneumonia and the surgery was postponed. Since then, Thomas has battled many infections, including an infection in his brain and his blood. He is also resistant or allergic to many of the anti-biotics, which has made recovery painful and difficult. Most recently he is recovering from a massive bed sore, which was infected to the bone.
Thomas’ mom, Michelle, was able to spend the first 3 months with him in Denver while his dad, Danny stayed back in Joliet with William. In September Michelle’s leave from work was up and she had to return to Montana. Danny recently had back surgery but as soon as he was cleared by his doctors he went to be with Thomas in Denver.
At this time, the family is waiting for Thomas to recover enough to make the trip to a rehabilitation center closer to their home in Montana, where they hope he will become well enough to remove the rest of the tumor.
In May of 2015, William suffered from the same tumor, at the time the doctors did not believe it to be genetic so they chose not to test Thomas. William spent about 3 months in Denver recovering from his surgery to remove the tumor. William’s tumor was about half the size that Thomas’ was. William has a few lingering problems but for the most part, he has recovered well.
I decided to give the card to a family in Butte, MT. I personally know this family and knew of them having a hard time keeping up on their bills and running low on funds. The husband works in town for the city not sure of his job title and his wife is a first year teacher. They also have a 1 year old daughter. I’ve witnessed them struggle to come up with money for groceries for the family and staying up on their bills due to fixing issues with their home and that happened in the last year. This family helps out everyone they can with no questions asked. The husband has helped neighbors fix their homes or any other issues they have without wanting anything in return. This money I know will help them out tremendously with supporting their family and help get them back on track. After giving them the card personally they were so grateful that you have helped them out.
What a wonderful gift to “re-gift”!
I split $500 between 3 families who have had major medical bills. Each family is frugal with their money and is always ready to give a hand to others. It was great to see the look of surprise and thankfulness for the gift cards each family received!!
Thank you Dennis & Phyllis for all the ways you give to your community!
My husband and I have been fortunate to have the same group of gals take care of our kids as babies. When you have others who care for your kids while you work, it’s so comforting to know that they are receiving the care, love, and support that you want them to have. Recently one of the gals had an accident that required her to be out of work for a couple of months. Daycare providers in my eyes don’t make enough for the vital role they play in caring for kids and knowing that medical bills and other expenses can grow quickly, I’m so thankful that I was able to give a Pay It Forward card to help her meet some of these needs.
Thank you to the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation for allowing us to be able to Pay It Forward within our communities.
I donated my card to a single mother of 6 children. She is recently divorced with an ex-husband who has a drug addiction. He lost his job and is currently in rehab. She is not receiving support and is raising the kids on her own with the help of her parents when possible. I thought this card could go a long way to cover groceries, supplies and daily necessities.
In October 2018, my Aunt’s husband James Wilson passed away. My Aunt was devastated not only for her loss but also because James was the only support that she had, emotionally and monetary as well.
When I was notified that I’ve won this award I knew I was going to donated to St. Jude, but after finding out the situation that my Aunt was living, without a thought I gave the card to her.
Thank you again for helping me help others.
This donation supports the development of programs and funds workshop retreats for Special Operation combat warriors and their significant other to rebuild and strengthen their relationship.
Combat warriors and their spouses attend workshop retreats at no cost to them, excluding travel. Donations allows All Secure Foundation to create more programs for more combat families to help fight the war on Post Traumatic Stress on the home front.
I split my card equally between two organizations; Family Promise of Missoula (via Missoula Interfaith Collaborative) and the Humane Society of Western Montana.
Family Promise came to mind while reflecting on my late mother who was very active at and a supporter of, St. Anthony parish and Missoula Catholic Schools. Family Promise was a cause dear to her heart, having raised 7 children with my father she was aware of the struggles parents face, trying to provide for their family and raise them to be good people with a strong Christian background. My parents were amazing! I truly believe that strong parents are the backbone of a good family and ultimately a good human. Family Promise offers other parents a “leg up” so they can be good parents and providers as well. “Family Promise of Missoula is a network of 28 congregations and businesses who practice hospitality and work together to provide shelter, meals and support to Missoula families to help them rebuild their lives.”
The Humane Society of Western Montana is a cause dear to my heart because I love dogs and I understand the importance of adopting furry friends into our families, whether dog, cat or other and I’ve felt, first hand, the positive impact these selfless, loving creatures can have on us, their humans. A quote I read recently is so true; “We don’t save these animals, they save us.”
Thanks to the Foundation for sharing these funds with the Washington Companies employees and allowing us to experience the remarkable feeling of giving on a larger scale than we are normally able to. What a great experience! Thank you!
There are 2 families that I chose to help that have lost loved ones. One is a neighbor that lost his grandson, so I bought ingredients to make a nice meal for his family and took it over yesterday evening. I plan on making another meal this weekend to take over to them.
The second family I made a meal for lost her husband to cancer. I took the meal to her and her family last night and plan on making another meal for her and her family this weekend.
First I want to thank the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation for the opportunity to participate in the Pay it Forward program. It is such a joy to be able to help individuals and causes that are important to each employee who receives a card.
This year’s submission story is a hard one for me to write. Several months ago, there was a man who was involved in a grade crossing incident on MRL, and he unfortunately passed away as a result of his injuries. This man attended my parent’s church and was well-known to my family. He was the primary provider for his family, and he left his wife with no means of income with which to provide for herself and their three children. I am all too aware of how tragic this situation is, both for our engineers on the train and for the family that unexpectedly lost their dad and husband, and I wanted to help in some way. My Pay it Forward card was the perfect way for me to help out a hurting family. I worked with my parent’s church to pass the card forward and the family was so thankful for the extra help in a very difficult time.
I have chosen to donate my “Pay It Forward” Giving Card to ”Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep”, a nonprofit volunteer organization where all donations are tax deductible.
Their mission and why they exist: To introduce remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with a free gift of professional portraiture. They exist to give bereaved families the gift of heirloom portraits to bring healing and comfort as well as provide ongoing support.
More than once I’ve experienced family friends, co-workers, or children of friends having to experience the upcoming birth of a child that was born stillborn, or they know in advance that their infant will not survive after birth.
On January 1, 2018, my Niece went into premature labor 6 weeks early. When arriving at the hospital, she was advised by the doctors that there was no heartbeat of her child. Immediately my family went into shock and did not know how to deal with their emotions or grief while waiting for Noble to arrive into this world without taking a breath. Even though this was happening in Alaska and I live in Washington State, I immediately went on line and contacted the “Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep” organization.
A professional photographer was in the hospital room within an hour of being contacted by NILMDTS. The death of an infant is something no parent should ever have to experience. Tender photographs document a child’s eternal connection with his parents. Receiving images of their baby gives them comfort of a priceless gift where they can honor and remember a tiny life that is forever loved and cherished.
If you or someone you know are in need of their services I encourage you to please go to their website to retrieve general information on where to find a volunteer photographer, learn of services they provide for the families and obtain information on helping the bereaved on what you can say or what services you can do for the families. Hopefully your family or friends never go through the motions of experiencing an infants’ death, but by familiarizing yourself with the organization and what they do, you may be able to provide valuable information and resources to a family during their bereavement. Please visit nowilaymedowntosleep.org. By familiarizing yourself with the organization you may make a difference in a family’s life.
When I received this giving card I was unsure of exactly how or who the card should go to. I consulted with my wife and we decided that the card to go to something that was important to us. Over the last year my wife and I have suffered multiple pregnancy losses and we have been seeing an amazing doctor who specializes with infertility. We are still hopeful that we will conceive and have a baby naturally, but we have learned there are some barriers that may prevent that. We started looking into the options available to conceive, such as In Vitro Fertilization and we learned the cost of that procedure alone is around $12,000 and our insurance will not cover any of it. Not very many insurance companies will cover fertilization procedures leaving the people who need them paying for it on their own. In our minds, a baby is completely worth the cost, however it will be a challenge to come up with the funds needed. Knowing that there are likely other hardworking couples out there facing the same situation, we wanted do all we could to help someone else in need. We contacted the doctor that we are using and asked if it would be possible to donate the giving card to one of her patients that is going to be undergoing the In Vitro process in the next few months. The doctor let us know that she had someone that could absolutely benefit from the money.
My wife Sarah and I wrote a letter to the anonymous family who would receive the giving card explaining why it was important for us to help and also gave a brief overview of the Pay it Forward Giving Program. I received a call from the doctor letting me know that the family receiving the card had been contacted and let them know that they were receiving the money. According to the doctor, the recipient was so thankful to receive the card that she began to cry. The recipients explained that they were going to use the money toward their procedure in June. We are wishing them the best of luck and hope that the giving card allows them to breathe a little easier.
I have used my Pay it Forward giving card in conjunction with an annual fundraiser that I participate in called RATPOD. https://ratpod.org/ This is bike ride that begins and ends in Dillon Montana in June, raising funds for Camp-Mak-A-Dream, in Gold Creek Montana. From the camps web page:
“Camp Mak-A-Dream provides a medically supervised, cost-free Montana experience, in an intimate community setting for children, young adults and families affected by cancer. A week at camp offers these kids and young adults the chance to be “normal”, to conquer challenges, gain independence and self-esteem, make new friends and face their fears alongside others who understand what it’s like to have cancer.
As a 501(c)3, non-profit organization, all funding for Camp Mak-A-Dream is raised through private donations, gifts, grants and fundraising events such as this RATPOD ride. Funds raised at this event will directly benefit Camp Mak-A-Dream and its programs.
Camp Mak-A-Dream is located in Gold Creek, Montana, on 87 beautiful acres surrounded by the Flint and Pintler Mountains. The Children’s Oncology Camp Foundation was founded in 1991 and since opening in 1995, Camp Mak-A-Dream has served thousands of individuals. For more information, please visit: www.campdream.org.”
I want to start out by saying thank you to the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation and the Pay It Forward program. As I ponder where it should go I spent a lot of time thinking, as well as looking, into different options. The final answer I came to was my grandfather, Albert Greenfield.
He was a strong and gentle giant born April 27, 1924 in New York. He went on to be in the US Army, fighting for his country in WWII. After the service, he came to Montana where he met his wife and had four beautiful children. He was a logger, then moved into owning his own long haul trucking company running coast to coast. He and his children were very outdoorsy and loved to sports. His life was cut short at 40 years old, such a young age, playing racket ball at the Elks Club. He died December 11, 1964, doing what he loved to do.
Ever since the headstone was damaged at his gravesite, our family wonder how we were going to replace it. Thanks to Pay It Forward my grandfather will have a proper headstone again.
While at work, I heard about a young boy who was just diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. The doctors said they had discovered it soon enough, it had not spread and he should be ok. But this will require numerous trips to Denver for chemo and radiation therapy. This brave young boy spent his 12th birthday in Denver for his first round of treatments. I donated my card to the Crichfield family to use for any expenses they wanted to use it for.
I would like to thank the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation for allowing me to give my card to a family that can really use the extra funds. My thoughts go out to the Crichfield family for a full and speedy recovery of their son.
Josh Allen, recipient story
On behalf of Missoula Church of the Nazarene, I would like to thank you for advocating for us in the pay it forward program with Montana Rail.We challenged our congregation to bring in diapers to care for some younger families both inside and outside of our church. The church responded generously and we were able to help 4 families. We used the gift card we received from you to give 3 families $100 gift cards and made a $200 gift card donation to Mountain Home, an organization for young mothers that our church partners with.
Thank you for helping us to spread God’s love in a tangible way to our community!
Pastor Josh Allen and the congregation of Missoula Church of the Nazarene
My giving card was given to the Stafford Animal Shelter.
Stafford Animal Shelter is a no-kill, open-door shelter that accepts all pets in need regardless of age, species, breed or medical condition. We have no length of stay restrictions so animals are welcome with us until they find their forever homes. We accept every pet in need: abandoned or homeless, unwanted litters from unspayed and uneutered animals, and those confiscated by control officers for cruelty. The only nonprofit animal care facility in Park County, we serve the people and pets of the greater Southwestern Montana community including Gallatin, Sweet Grass, Stillwater, Meagher, Fergus counties and beyond. As the only Shelter in the region that accepts all lost or unwanted pets; not just dogs and cats, we have a “Zoo” where we can care for a wide range of pets from exotics to rodents to birds to small mammals. We also serve as the care facility for animals running at large, cruelty cases, and emergencies by city and county animal control officers. Of all the animals we take in approximately half are reclaimed and half are adopted. Every adoptable cat, dog, kitten and puppy are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, dewormed and microchipped prior to adoption.
I have personally matched this donation.
I chose to give the Pay It Forward $500 to Kelker’s Kids which financially assists families with children battling cancer. By assisting families during those difficult times, it allows them to focus on what is most important: the care of their child.
Thank you to the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation for giving me the opportunity to pay it forward.
My older sister, Lacey, was born with special needs. She belongs to a group called Little Bitterroot Services, located in Plains, Mont. They operate two second hand clothing stores. One in Plains and the other in Thompson Falls. These stores give opportunities to special needs individuals to have and maintain a job and have supervised individual living.
They also are able to, through Little Bitterroot, attend the Special Olympics. Under funded and on a budget, its hard for them to afford to take all of their members to the Olympics.
I feel Honored having been given this opportunity to be apart of the Pay It Forward Program. I contacted Little Bitterroot Services management, and worked with them on figuring out what some of their needs were. We decided to have Light Weight Hooded coats made, with their team name embroidered in to the left breast of the coats, for the Special Olympics. As the coats that they have are old and in need of being updated. We had 24 coats made in many different sizes. the total cost for these coats came to $667.00. I used all of the Pay It Forward money on this. I paid the difference with money from my own pocket. As well as a $700.00 Donation, to be used towards gas, transportation, food and any other expenses incurred for their Special Olympics trip.
Once again, thank you for the opportunity to be apart of such a great company and a great program.
Linda is a friend of our family and I am using the Pay It Forward card to help her with medical expenses. Below is her story from her Go Fund Me web page. (https://uk.gofundme.com/help-linda-with-her-medical-expenses)
On Sunday, February 10th, Linda suffered a stroke and was taken to St. Patrick hospital where she was quickly treated with tPA, a powerful clot-busting medication used to dissolve the clot and restore blood flow. The drug must be given within a few hours after the onset of symptoms, or the risk of causing unwanted bleeding may outweigh the benefit. The earlier tPA is administered within that time period, the better the chances of a favorable outcome. We are so grateful that she was treated extremely early after her symptoms began and she is expected to make a full recovery. After three days in the ICU and one night on the neurology floor, she was able to come with the aid of in-home health care. Her prognosis is better at home than in a nursing home. When she can manage the stairs to her home, she will continue with out-patient rehab. Friends have generously joined with Linda’s children and given their time to check on her, take her to hospital appointments and just keep her spirits up so she’s not feeling alone. She is currently trying to regain movement in her left arm, leg and her speech.
Linda’s medical challenges started in October when she began to experience critical stage hypertension that couldn’t be controlled by medications. Her primary care physician ordered a test of her renal arteries to see if a blockage could be the cause. They suspected a right renal artery stenosis, but in the course of testing, they also discovered a small mass on her pancreas and ongoing MRI’s will be required to determine if the mass grows. We’ll cross that road when we come to it. Her first pancreas MRI is on February 28th.
Surgery was performed on her renal artery and a heart catheter was also done at the Heart Institute. The results of the renal artery was a 90% blockage and the diagnosis of Fibromuscular Dysplasia which is the abnormal development or growth of cells in the walls of the body’s arteries. As a result of this growth, areas of the arteries can thicken, narrow and even enlarge, making it difficult for blood to flow through them. FMD most often affects the renal arteries, which supply the kidneys with blood, and carotid arteries, which bring blood to the brain. Less commonly, FMD develops in the arteries of the abdomen or the arteries of the arms and legs. In nearly one-third of people with FMD, more than one artery is affected. So we don’t know what the future holds with this. The disease is very rare, affecting 1-3% of the population. It is not curable or treatable with medication. Linda will always require frequent testing in her arteries.
Although the cardiologist said her heart looked great after the surgery, at her post surgery check-up, she was told they had discovered a Miocardial Bridge, a segment of her heart’s main arteries tunnels into the heart muscle and back out again instead of resting on the surface of the heart. The bridge refers to the band of heart muscle, the myocardium. that stretches over that section of the artery. In Linda’s case, it’s her left anterior descending artery. You may know this one by the “widow-maker” in heart attacks. A myocardial bridge shows up in fewer than 5% of people who undergo a cardiac catheterization. Most people with this condition, which is generally present from birth, don’t have any symptoms. But the segment of the blood vessel that dips into the heart muscle may be squeezed when the heart contracts, especially if the heart muscle is thickened. In rare cases, this causes symptoms similar to those of a heart attack, including chest pain, tightness or pressure in the chest, pain in the left arm or jaw, or shortness of breath. Those symptoms have been present for Linda since a “heart attack” in 2006, however, the cause was not known until now.
As you can see, there’s a long, winding, confusing medical road to navigate. Linda is self employed and has medical insurance with a high deductible and out of pocket costs. Unfortunately, the road behind her for the last 6 months exceeded 2018 and 2019 out of pocket costs. As you can imagine, her medical costs so far run in the tens of thousands, and we are extremely thankful for insurance. But not working, paying higher employees costs for the business and out of pocket expenses are crippling on top of everything else she is dealing with.
We are hoping to be able to raise funds to help with those out of pocket expenses for her medical care. We deeply appreciate the generous support Linda has received and extremely dislike asking for monetary help, but sometimes we have to stop being proud and just ask. Anything you can give is greatly appreciated and we know it will help Linda concentrate on her recovery and not on the bills that are piling up. If you can’t give (completely and totally understandable!!), please keep Linda in your prayers as she continues her recovery.
With love and gratitude,
The Baumann/Pfaff Family
Crystal Baines, recipient story
Zachary Archer gifted me the $500 Visa gift card and I cannot begin to express my thankfulness for it. Zach knowing that I am a single mother and sole support of five children, two of whom have special medical needs. Zach knew what a difference this would make for my family and I. I am constantly struggling to make ends meet as I try and meet the needs of my family. Between extensive trips to the children’s hospital in Spokane for the neurologist, the numerous therapy appointments my children need, plus attending school full time and working, there is never enough to go around.
Zach gifting me that card meant that for the first time in two years I was able to pay my utility bill current and put the remaining portion towards my power bill, which kept us from getting shut off (he did not know that at the time). For us, it was a miracle that was desperately needed.
I am so grateful for this program and for Zach taking part in it and working to pay forward the blessings.
With many thanks and much gratitude,
A fellow Montana Resource Employee has a 14 month old Grandson that had a heart transplant. I did ask his Mom to please share their very touching story. I would like to thank Dennis and Phyllis Washington for giving me the opportunity to “Pay it Forward”
Sincerely, Mike Blom
I thought this video would be good to share with you. Its our story in our own words.
Currently Jasper’s biggest needs are clothes that fit, toys that will assist in his physical therapy and formula. While Jasper was on the LVAD Berlin heart he suffered two major strokes. These strokes caused major damage to the right side of his brain. He currently has weakness on the left side of his body and is unable to swallow on his own. Jasper has a surgically placed feeding button which allows his body to receive formula and medicine directly to his stomach. He is doing wonderful at keeping his feeds down. So wonderful that he has grown out of 18 months clothes and now fits in 24 month clothes! This is huge for us! Many heart transplant patients have failure to thrive and struggle to grow. Our Jasper is once again amazing everyone as he continues to grow and learn at a fast pace.
Words cannot express our gratitude for the wonderful gift that Montana Resources has given us. From the bottom of our hearts Thank You for this wonderful gift!
Britney, Teddy and Jasper Dorscher
First I would like to thank the Washington Foundation for providing us with this opportunity. I like to think that I am very thankful for my job and that I show that on a daily basis, but being a part of this always makes me just a bit more thankful to be part of this incredible organization.
Mark Nordby was an incredible person, unfortunately Mark lost his battle with ALS earlier this year. I have not worked directly with Mark for over 25 years as I moved to a different department. However, we were still old friends any time our paths crossed. Mark had a celebration of life last weekend and as a part of the celebration the family organized a fundraiser as well. The fundraiser was twofold, any proceeds were going to be split between The Evergreen Chapter of the ALS Foundation, which is an organization whose mission statement is: To discover treatments and a cure for ALS, and to serve, advocate for, and empower people affected by ALS to live their lives to the fullest. Proceeds were also going to be used to assist with Mark’s hospital expenses.
This is a great program that brings hope to both the giver and the receiver.
Jason a young husband and father in our community was recently diagnosed with cancer in the bile ducts of his liver called Cholangiocarcinoma, his treatment requires travel to Salt Lake City and many stays in hotels. Jason, his wife Amber and three little girls can use all the help they can get. This card will pay for many trips to his treatment. When I gave it to him his wife cried and asked me to thank Dennis and Phyllis for them.
I decided to give the Pay It Forward gift card to my friends Brooke and Jacob Buckingham. Their son Oliver was born November 30, 2018 with special needs which buried them under a mountain of medical bills. Also during this time the federal government was shutdown, leaving them without an income for about a month since Jacob works as a TSA manager and Brooke was at home taking care of Oliver. Please read their story below for more details.
My name is Brooke Buckingham. Oliver is my son, and I would like to share his story! I’ll start at the very beginning … please bear with me, as I can be long-winded at times.
My husband and I found out we were pregnant with our first baby, Aizen, while we were dating in January of 2018. We were terrified, but also excited at the prospect of being parents. We had already been discussing wedding plans and planning our future together in general. We found out we were only about 4-6 weeks pregnant, so pretty early. We decided that if we were going to be having a baby together, we needed to be married. So, he proposed, and we decided to get married in Bozeman, MT only 9 weeks later. I picked out my wedding dress and had it sent for alterations, sent out invitations, and made plans for our wedding and honeymoon.
Shortly after that, I found out I was losing the baby. I tried to allow my body to miscarry my child without extensive measures being taken because I hoped, by some miracle, maybe I would be able to keep him. I was in pretty serious denial that I was losing him. We were about 8-9 weeks at the time, and I had been under a considerable amount of stress between planning a wedding and working full-time at a hospital with a shortage of staff.
I came to my last appointment for Aizen, and they did an ultrasound to be sure it wasn’t ectopic. He was a normal pregnancy, but the doctor referred to him as “a bad egg.” My heart broke. They elected to give me a drug called methotrexate. It is a highly toxic drug used for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, some cancers, and ectopic pregnancies. They told me it would help me miscarry sooner.
I could go on because there is a lot more that happened that day, but I will stop at the fact that we lost Aizen officially on February 20th, 2018.
My husband, Jacob, and I got married on March 31st, 2018. Our wedding was everything I wanted, and we were excited to try again for another baby when the time was right. I asked our doctor if we would be okay to consummate our marriage on our honeymoon, and I was told, “Oh yes. It’s too soon for you to get pregnant again. There’s no possible way you would get pregnant again this fast.”
Long story short, Oliver was conceived April 2nd, on our honeymoon.
When we returned from Florida, I just knew I was pregnant. I took about a thousand pregnancy tests until I finally got a positive test. My gut wrenched as I researched the effect of methotrexate exposure to an infant in-utero. The pictures and stories I saw were heart-breaking. So, when we went in for our first appointment, I was pretty well-prepared for the worst.
They set me up with a high-risk specialist doctor from Fargo, ND. He would travel down to Williston, ND on the second Tuesday of every month to see patients.
When he first saw me, I was 12 weeks pregnant. Babies are still pretty tiny on an ultrasound at this point, but he sat in with me to see if we could find any immediate concerns. Right away, we found out Oliver didn’t have legs. They thought he might have a hole in his heart. They also had some concerns that his jaw would be set too far back for him to have an airway. Medical care in Williston, ND is very, very minimal. If you are having any sort of complication with your pregnancy here, you can pretty much count on needing to travel for obstetric care. So, with these findings, we went to Billings, MT for a second opinion.
In Billings, we had another ultrasound done. I was 20 weeks pregnant at the time. When the doctor there got a look at the images, he confirmed that, without a doubt, Oliver would not have legs. He didn’t see a hole in his heart, but he could not confirm whether or not there was one there. (Oliver was a serious challenge to get ultrasound pictures of through the whole pregnancy.) He made no comments on his jaw. But, he made a recommendation that we get to a better medical facility before Oliver was born. He recommended we get to a major children’s hospital that specialized in all pediatric specialties. We were told that Oliver was diagnosed with sacral agenesis (nothing below the sacrum). There are varying severities with this condition, but the doctor in Billings told us to prepare ourselves for the idea that Oliver could survive either only minutes after birth, or he would live a long happy life. He couldn’t determine his life expectancy based on the ultrasound photos. Then, he referred us to a genetic counselor there. So, we stepped across the hall and spoke with the genetic counselor. We were offered an abortion straight off the bat and turned it down. Both my husband and I value the life of an unborn child, especially our own, no matter the circumstances. We discussed our family history and determined that it was likely not a genetic problem. The genetic counselor offered us amniocentesis to see if his medical problems were part of mine and Jacob’s genetics (even though it didn’t seem that way) or if it was something else entirely. We decided to go ahead with that, and had amniocentesis done. This was in the beginning of August, 2018.
On our way back to North Dakota, we made the decision to move to Boise, ID. My husband’s family lives there and offered us a place to stay. We moved at the beginning of September, 2018.
When we got to Boise, our doctor there requested that we get a fetal MRI done to determine 1) the severity of his micrognathia/short jaw and 2) whether there were no legs at all or partial limbs. We also confirmed with a fetal cardiologist that Oliver did not have a hole in his heart.
Our MRI came out inconclusive as far as his jaw goes, but they thought maybe they could see a portion of a femur. They weren’t sure because Oliver would absolutely not hold still for the MRI. We spoke to multiple doctors that would be part of our delivery, and the neonatologist there told us that staying in Idaho might not be advisable. The procedure they would need to do had only been done one time by one physician, and we were told it was not impossible but that they didn’t do many of them and that, if we were looking for the best care, Boise wasn’t the case.
The procedure they were wanting to do goes like this:
When I was scheduled for a c-section, they would cut me open, and remove Oliver from my body. They would leave him connected to my body by his umbilical cord. This would allow my body to supply him blood and oxygen so they could try to intubate him and have a little more time. If they could not intubate him, they would cut a small hole in his throat to insert a trache and provide him an airway before they cut the cord.
Basically, it was a very difficult and dangerous procedure, and if anything happened, we would be life-flighted to Salt Lake City, UT. Also, depending on the case, I might not have been able to go with him and it could have been a while before I could get down there, especially after a c-section. They said they could do it for sure, but that it would be risky. So, we made to choice to move to Salt Lake City, UT.
When we got to our doctor in Salt Lake City, they observed that my amniotic fluid was very low. It was something they had been monitoring in Idaho, but they weren’t as concerned. By the time we got to Utah, it was concerning enough that the doctor thought maybe my water had broken, and I just didn’t notice. I was 30-32 weeks pregnant at the time, so it could have been okay to deliver, but she admitted me to try and keep Oliver from coming so he had more time to develop before I went into labor.
But, I never went in to labor is the crazy thing. So, I had a round of steroids and antibiotics to keep the baby safe from infection and to help his lungs develop a little more. In the end, they could never confirm my water broke because there was that little fluid. It would never come up positive on the tests they did, so they didn’t want to just deliver him. I was sent home on bed rest with instructions to return if I was concerned I was going into labor. I was also instructed to come to the hospital twice a week for non-stress tests and every other week for doctor visits.
We were also sent for a second fetal MRI to get a better idea of what we were getting ourselves into before our delivery. This MRI showed that Oliver had no lower extremities and that he had a solid airway and that we would not be needing that procedure I mentioned above. However, we did find that he had a small congenital diaphragmatic hernia that would need to be repaired after delivery.
I was on pretty high alert after that. Oliver is my first child to make it to delivery, so I didn’t know what contractions felt like, and I was pretty convinced I wouldn’t feel myself lose my water, since there was hardly any in there. I’m fairly certain I drove my husband crazy, but he faithfully drove me to the ER anytime I was concerned…which was honestly at least once a week.
Well, for the next several weeks, every time we came in for a non-stress test, Oliver would fail it with the exception of 2 times. If they fail, you are sent for something called a biophysical profile, where they do an ultrasound to be sure that baby is moving, their heart is beating, and that there is amniotic fluid. So what should have taken 20-30 minutes always turned into a 2 hour appointment. They were long, stressful days. We made plans to be induced on December 6th, 2018, which would put us at 37 weeks, provided Oliver had not chosen to gift us with his presence sooner.
On November 30th, 2018, I woke up, got dressed, and went in for another crazy day of testing. My husband and I picked up breakfast together before we headed in, but we had no idea what we were walking into.
When we got to the office, I went and did our non-stress test which, as expected, Oliver failed. We were sent for a biophysical profile, as I expected, since I had this down to a science. I was having a good attitude because I knew we were only a week from being induced, so I was just going through the motions.
Well, when we were done, my doctor came in to visit with me. She asked if I had been having contractions or anything, and I told her I had but not many and they were not consistent. She told me that Oliver seemed to be desatting (his heart rate was dropping dangerously low) and that she didn’t feel safe sending me home. She hooked me up to a monitor and told me if he deserted again, we would be delivering that night. Sure enough, less than an hour after they hooked me to the machines, Oliver desatted again. Baby time.
My husband had gone to pick up our cell phone chargers since we honestly did not think we would be delivering that night. I called him and urged him to hurry back because we were making pretty important decisions and the baby would be coming tonight.
Oliver was desatting when I would have a contraction, and I was only less than a centimeter dilated so my doctor didn’t think induction would be safe. So, I elected for en emergency c-section.
Oliver came out crying, which means his airway was intact. I got to see him for a brief 5 seconds before they rushed him to the NICU. My husband stayed with me while they sewed me up, and then I asked him to go be with Oliver in the NICU. I had a very hard time in the recovery room after our delivery. I reacted poorly to the spinal block, and my blood pressure dropped dangerously low. I remember throwing up uncontrollably, feeling hot but my body was freezing, and the nurse and anesthesiologist arguing about how to fix it while they held my stitches together. Everything after that was pretty foggy until I woke up the next day.
I found out that when my husband got to the NICU, Oliver seemed to be doing well. Then he turned purple and they had to intubate him because he went into respiratory distress. It was later discovered that his spleen had worked its way up partially into his chest cavity, and I am suspecting that’s why he struggled. On December 1st, I got to hold Oliver for the first time, and it was pretty scary. He was hooked up to a ventilator and had multiple IV’s and other machine hooked up to him. His face was super swollen because they had a tough time getting his head out of my pelvis. He couldn’t open his eyes at all at the time. I held him until they took him to surgery.
Oliver needed surgery to correct his diaphragmatic hernia and to place a colostomy bag. He was born with a grocery list of problems:
-congenital diaphragmatic hernia
-sacral agenesis/caudal regression
-a very, VERY small brain bleed from delivery
-partially closed left nare
This doesn’t include the most recent findings of a tongue tie and a submucosal cleft palate.
After his surgery, Oliver continued to fight as he had been through his whole gestation. He shocked the doctors who cared for him with every step he took forward. We were basically guaranteed a 4-6 month NICU stay, and Oliver met every single one of their expectations in just 19 days! It felt like a very long 19 days, but we made it through Oliver’s constant dance of “two steps forward, one step back.” (He has always been unique that way.) We went from him coding in my arms just 2 days after he was born to being sent home only 19 days after he was born.
Oliver was sent home on oxygen and an NG tube for feeding, since he aspirates. He was allowed to take only 15mLs by mouth per feed. We were also given orders for oxygen to be delivered to our home, medical supply prescriptions to be sent to our door, referrals to home health, speech/feeding therapy, physical therapy, early intervention therapy, a high risk clinic, cardiology, pulmonology, neurology, gastroenterology, ENT, and a request to follow up with the surgical staff.
I have medical training. I earned my associate’s degree in medical assisting from Montana Tech in Butte, MT. But, I don’t know if anything can really ever prepare you to have to do those things to your own child. My husband and I both had to take a refresher CPR course before Oliver could go home, and I was genuinely afraid I would need it. No one can prepare you for the fear you will feel when your baby’s oxygen monitor goes off in the night and wakes you from a dead sleep because he’s desatting. (Most of the time, it was a false alarm, but still.) And no one can prepare you for the stress you feel as a mom, putting a tube down your baby’s nose and into his stomach, knowing that you might accidentally slip it into his lungs and have to start over. We were also instructed to keep him away from people until flu season is over — basically do not leave home unless it is for doctor’s appointments. And no one can prepare you for that kind of loneliness.
We were asked multiple times how we were coping so well with the stress of it all, especially with us being such young parents (21 and 22 at the time). Well, I can honestly say that at first, I was petrified. I cried all the time. And my husband, well, he held me together through most all of it. I will not say it wasn’t terrifying because it was. And praise God that He provided a way for us to be able to move from state to state (especially since my husband works for the government, and they were very helpful with transferring him wherever we went.) We also had Oliver right around the time the government shut down indefinitely, and our only source of income was my husband’s job as a TSA supervisor. Medical bills started pouring in and we couldn’t get Oliver added to our insurance yet because it was federal. And, I needed my husband to stay home and help with the baby because I was still recovering from my c-section. Basically, we were in desperate need of help.
The government finally reopened, and we started to receive income again, but the damage had already taken its toll. We received TONS of financial assistance from the church! This is honestly what held us afloat. But we knew we would not be able to afford our living expenses. My husband was making more money in Williston, ND, and my family lives there. So, we decided to move back to Williston. My parents have offered to let us live with them free of charge until we can get back on our feet financially. We so appreciate this help. My husband is wonderful and has been working from early in the morning until late in the evening to be sure I can stay home with Oliver and take care of him. We are finally starting to get on top of our medical bills, but it will be a while before they’re completely taken care of. Oliver is seeing a wonderful doctor here who is vigorously researching his condition in order to help him develop properly. Oliver sees two therapists — one for feeding and one for developmental milestones. We are in the process of getting his tongue-tie clipped in the hopes that it will be the only reason he was struggling to eat due to aspirating. He is no longer on oxygen or a feeding tube and taking
thickened liquids by mouth. He can already hold up his head all by himself and is working on learning how to roll over by himself at only 4 months old. We are so proud of our little boy, and we are so thankful to have been chosen to be his parents. We are so thankful God has blessed us with the families He has and that He has placed us with the church family He has. This is just the beginning for sure, but we’re so excited to be a part of his life.
We know God has big plans for our little guy.
“The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.”
“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, ‘FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.’ But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
We can’t wait to see where he goes and what he does with this life God has given him. We are so thankful for all the love and prayers we have received from various people. We know we can trust God to provide when we need it most.
Again, I apologize for being long-winded! If you are still reading, thank you for reading our story and giving us space in your thoughts for today. Please keep us in your prayers as we learn how to raise our little boy!
Jacob, Brooke, Aizen, and Oliver Buckingham
A Pay It Forward Essay of Appreciation and HOPE
The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation has created a multitude of positive, life-impacting changes in the communities that are served by the Foundation and has improved and enriched the lives of so many young people as well as touched lives of many others. This essay provides a brief description of the current and heart-wrenching struggle of a young woman battling the most formidable challenge that every human being dreads and prays to avoid in life. The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation’s Pay It Forward giving card was provided to this individual to assist in the overwhelming expenses associated with her battle against cancer.
This young lady was born to parents originally from Butte and who raised her in the Helena Valley where she attended local schools and graduated from Helena High School. She is a beautiful, blonde haired, blue-eyed, young lady with many of the fine attributes of her parents. They raised her in a warm and loving home, and she enjoyed growing up in her family with a younger sister and two additional siblings who arrived a short gap in time. She was and is close to her sister and helped her parents with her younger siblings through their toddler years and enjoyed watching them grow.
Pursuing additional education was not an option nor goal of hers to pursue but gaining employment and living an adult life style was. Shortly after graduating from high school she moved to Missoula where she was employed by Costco. She enjoyed the work and the people, appreciated her wages and benefits and portrayed a true zest for living her dreams in her own way.
At some point over the course of the next few years she became involved with a fellow who had similar aspirations for the pursuit of the enjoyment that life in that snapshot had to offer them together. She was happy, had a secure network of friends and always remained close to her extended family, particularly cousins. She enjoyed the social media outlets and frequently kept her friends, acquaintances and family apprised of her life experiences, political notions and food recipes.
Life changed for her in September 2017. She suddenly discovered a physical problem and was diagnosed with an aggressive type and greatly advanced breast cancer at age thirty. The type and advancement were so great that the medical profession prescribed a complete removal of the impacted organ and surrounding nodes and tissue to attempt to halt the progression of the disease. The surgery schedule was truncated and was performed in December 2017, indicating the high level of concern in order to restrict and control rapid expansion of the disease and transmission to other parts of her body.
Intense chemotherapy and radiation followed the surgery into 2018. She remained positive in attitude and upbeat in communications during this entire, grueling experience of the treatment and the potentially debilitating side-effects associated with the treatment. Her stories provided inspiration to the readers and prayers and hope for her recovery.
With surgeries, chemo and radiation and associated health effects, her employment was maintained but reduced to part-time status. This adjustment required additional insurance expenses in addition to the usual deductible copay and other costs not covered by insurance. She is grateful of her employer and for the health insurance that she continues to receive.
She made it through this intense regimen and period of physical discomfort and array and was her sisters Maid of Honor on her wedding day in July 2018. It was not only a joyous life experience for her sister and the entire family but among family and those close to her there was also an unspoken, relief and prayer of thanks that she had made it so strong for so far. She looked beautiful on that day and appeared to enjoy every aspect of that life experience.
The breast cancer treatment regimen and goal of eliminating cancer and the possibly of it spreading to other body parts appeared to be successful. Possible “Remission” was mentioned at one point and hopes were high with a positive prognosis.
Other health related issues arose in December 2018 and the doctors diagnosed an inoperable tumor in the cervical spine area near the base of the head. Multiple medical opinions have been sought and currently she is seeking prognosis and possible treatment option evaluation at a nationally known cancer clinic in Houston.
The fellow who was her long-time, significant partner and who shared in the types of enjoyment that their lives provided them decided to depart from the relationship. This event was extremely difficult emotionally, but, true to her form, she emerged with a positive attitude and continues to look forward instead of back.
She was extremely surprised and very appreciative and grateful to receive the Pay It Forward card to help pay medical and travel expenses, that in turn helps to reduce the external stresses on her life. I thank you on her behalf and from myself as a WC employee. I know and have seen the great multitude of positive impacts the Foundation has created over the years. I am particularly grateful to the Foundation for this gift to someone in need with whom I have a close association.
Rhett’s Closet is the recipient of this giving card. This is a mission of Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Rathdrum Idaho. Rhett’s Closet collects children’s clothing from newborn to pre-teen, cleans, and organizes them into the closet. Then the closet is available to anyone in the community in need of clothing for their family. We have been a fully functional mission for a year now and have really enjoyed being able to service the community in this way.
The contribution this year was used toward purchasing items that are the greatest needs to restock the closet. We were able to purchase many packages of new underwear. Then we focused on getting the most bang for our buck for pants and pajama’s. There were also great deals on shirts on the clearance racks. People look at you funny when you buy that much at the store. It is neat to watch their eyes light up when you tell them it is for charity and will help many families.
This church mission was started in memory of a sweet and giving boy named Rhett, who was a member of our church. He knew how to take care of the needs of others and share generously. People noticed his generosity. He made friends wherever he went and knew how to include everyone in games being played. His generosity is remembered and impacted many people’s lives, young and old. Through our memories of his generosity, we are giving back to our community.
We thank your organization for this generous program and how it has helped us service so many families in our community. The employee who nominated our charitable cause is retiring this year. I know it has meant a lot to him to work for a company with such a giving heart. Thank for having this program available to your employees.
While my contribution to the mission is to stock and organize the closet, which suits me talents best, I have also been there a few times while a family has come for their appointment. It is overwhelming watching them have such joy in being able to provide their family with some new/used clothes that fit. The families are so appreciative. We have even had recipients donate back things they have grown out of.
The gift card was used to buy books for a literacy event sponsored by Graduation Matters for the Laurel Public Schools. The event is “Reading Under the Lights” and will take place next fall. Families will be invited to come to the Laurel Sports Complex for an evening of reading. Each family will receive a book that will be read aloud over the sound system and each child will be able to choose another book to read while waiting for the read aloud. All books will go home with the children and families. They will also be given cookies and milk as they leave for the night. This is an event for all families in the Laurel community.
I would like to thank the Washington Foundation for the gift card and the opportunity to pay it forward.
We were planning on finding a family in need, but we found a few and couldn’t pick just one so we originally bought 3 Walmart gift cards to help with groceries and basics. We were planning on using the rest to purchase gas cards but were informed they had to be purchased with cash so we ended up buying more Walmart cards and disbursing them evenly among the families.
One of the families was a guy who pulled my wife out of the ditch when she went off the road while I was at work. The other couple families have children who are sick and we figured they could use a little relief right now.
Jamey Van Doren
I guess had no idea of the impact and the perfect timing of this gift. After I made out a card for her, my wife gave it to Ms Jan after church on a Sunday since I work. Later that evening Ms Jan pulled into our driveway. She was crying and kept saying, “you have no idea”.After giving me a huge hug she told us that she was retiring after 30 years of teaching this May. She has been cleaning houses 3-4 nights a week just to make ends meet. She went onto explain that at times she didn’t have 2 pennies to rub together to make a spark. Now her only car was having car trouble and needed new brakes, she wasn’t sure where the extra money would come from.
In our everyday lives that we live, we sometimes have “no idea” what others are dealing with in their personal lives. As I saw Ms Jan at the post office this past week, I asked her if she got her car fixed. She said yes, thanks to you. It wasn’t thanks to me, it’s thanks to Dennis and Phyliss Washington Foundation for giving me the opportunity to “Pay It Forward”.
Once again, the Pay It Forward Giving Card made a difference in my community of Anaconda. I reached out to the Anaconda Community Foundation to create a list of people who either serve others and are in need of help themselves, or a person or project in need of assistance. From the list given me, I selected the following recipients:
1. $200 to Rosemary M. Rosemary is in her 70’s, and is a semi-retired Registered Nurse. She has an ailing husband and a severely mentally ill adult grown son under her care. Yet somehow, Rosemary takes advantage of her three story aging home to take someone in who is living in their car or on the street. Rosemary takes into her home total strangers, gives them 60 days to find a job, and while they are looking she feeds, shelters, and clothes them. Rosemary has a very limited income and often goes without filling her own needs to serve these strangers. When presenting Rosemary the check from the Pay It Forward gift, she began to cry and said that her van had just broken down and she was short money to pay for its repairs. The $200 gift strengthened her giving spirit and provided for the repair to her van.
2. $100 ($20 each) for graduating Anaconda Job Corps Students. The Anaconda Church of Christ has had a ministry to Job Corps Students since 2003. Church members have seen many students over the years and provide a home cooked meal each Sunday and a temporary “family” while they are away from home. This April and May, five of the students will be graduating. The members always give $20 in cash to the students as they graduate and send them on their way. The students have little funds to get them started once leaving the Job Corps. The church is giving the $20 to each student as they graduate with a card explaining the gift is from Cory Spehar and the 2019 Pay It Forward Giving Campaign from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation.
3. $200 to Matt B. Matt is a father of three young children and is always “giving back” to the community of Anaconda. He is passionate about working with young people and is engaged with Anaconda Community Intervention, which helps to prevent substance abuse in a community with high poverty and suicide rates. In addition, Matt and his wife are striving to open a small business that will no doubt be another gathering place for youth in Anaconda. This gift gave a little boost to a busy father’s bank account and also encouraged him to continue to give to our community. Matt will no doubt continue to “pay it
Mr. and Mrs. Washington, Thank You for the gift of Pay it Forward.
WeMontana! is a local nonprofit that my family is involved with that is focused on education, specifically music, public speaking, and a even logical thinking class. They are currently offering these classes at no charge. Just in the first semester, there are already 39 in choir and 23 in band. This gift will help with supplies to improve the acoustics for recitals and concerts. Here is their mission statement: “Mission — We, Montana! is a fledgling nonprofit aimed at making our world a little better by facilitating lifelong learning and engagement in various ways. We initiated a homeschool chorus program in Fall 2018, and will continue that throughout 2019, as well as starting a new homeschool band offering, a public speaking class, and a class on singing techniques. If this is successful, we look forward to offering many other things in the future.” This is a community-minded group looking to expand with local talent shows and community gatherings.
Thank You for your generosity and allowing your employees to help with these projects.
I was happy to have been one of this year’s “Pay It Forward” card recipients, and I forwarded it to the National Mill Dog Rescue in Colorado. Here is their story….
National Mill Dog Rescue was established in February 2007, in honor of a forgiving little Italian Greyhound named Lily. Theresa Strader, NMDR’s Founder and Executive Director, rescued Lily from a dog auction in Missouri. Prior to that day, Lily spent the first seven years of her life as a commercial breeding dog, a puppy mill mom. During her years as a breeding dog, Lily spent her days confined to a small, cold wire cage. She was never removed from her cage for exercise or socialization. In her dreary confines, Lily was forced to produce one litter after another with no respite. Like all commercial breeding dogs, she was a veritable breeding machine whose worth was measured in only one way – her ability to produce puppies.
By seven years of age, Lily was worn out. Commonplace in the industry, she had received little to no veterinary care throughout her life, the result of which, for her, was terribly disturbing. Due to years of no dental care, poor quality food, rabbit bottle watering and no appropriate chew toys, the roof of Lily’s mouth and lower jaw had rotted away. Her chest was riddled with mammary tumors and she was absolutely terrified of people. Strader brought Lily and 12 others home from the auction and declares that even for a highly seasoned rescuer, the following months were the education of a lifetime in rehabilitation. That she would take up the cause for the mill dogs was never in question, and the vision for National Mill Dog Rescue was born. Determined that her years of living in misery would not be in vain, Theresa started NMDR, giving a voice to mill dogs across the country.
Run almost solely by volunteers, National Mill Dog Rescue pledged to put an end to the cruelty of the commercial dog breeding industry, more commonly known as puppy mills. Through rescue and education, NMDR continues in its life-saving work while enlightening the public about the truth of pet store puppies. NMDR has taken a national approach to their efforts, and they have rescued and placed 14,001 dogs since their inception in 2007. These dogs are now living as cherished family members across the United States.
After her rescue, Lily spent the remainder of her life as a beloved member of the Strader family where she received medical care, warmth and companionship. In time, Lily found courage and her disfigured little body educated countless people about the horrors of the puppy mill industry. Lily died, at home, peacefully, in the arms of her loving dad with her family gathered around, in May 2008, fifteen months after she was rescued.
I donated the card to Horse Creek School in Cartwright, ND. Attached is the thank you letter Ms. Tosch
We, at Horse Creek School, would like to say THANK YOU SO much for the generous donation! We are a one room schoolhouse, grades K-8, located on the ND and MT border. The school has been around since the early 1900’s! We are one of the only functioning schools like it around!
I struggle finding funds to properly engage all the grade levels. I will have 6 grade levels next year and will use this money to purchase MUCH needed equipment and supplies for the school! Along with books that are leveled to each age group.
Ms. Tosch, Iris, Lily, Hitch, Hoyt, Jude, Elice, Henri
I have a friend that stayed at SAFE for a few weeks after experiencing domestic violence. She said they saved her.
SAFE – Helping those experiencing domestic, sexual, dating and other forms of violence.
SAFE’s mission is to address the fundamental need in the bitterroot community to decrease domestic and sexual violence and its impact in Ravalli County, Montana through the provision of direct services to survivors and their children and by working to minimize those conditions that support violence against women.
We decided to split the $500 between Trooper Wade Palmer and Shelley Hays GoFundMe pages. Shelley had died from multiple gun shot wounds while trying to help another in a vehicle. Wade Palmer was found in his police car shot numerous times after responding. The Missoulian gives a more accurate story.
Our son and many young people that we know went to high school with Shelley. Having friends in the police force and family who have been, we felt moved and compelled to utilize the opportunity afforded to us by you to help these two families. Thank you!
I donated to Y-Not Save a Sam Rescue in Logan, UT. The reason I chose this non-profit is because of their mission. Y-Not Save a Sam rescues mostly the Samoyed breed of dogs from other countries where they have a slim chance at survival. Yvette does an amazing job coordinating rescuing these animals from various locations throughout the world. Most of these animals would not survive in the current conditions. She has volunteers who help foster these animals abroad before they can be transported to the US. Once in the US she vets the potential adopters and ensures these animals will get the love and care they deserve. As a Samoyed owner I know these animals are the most loving dogs and just want to be part of a family. This is why I chose to donate to Y-Not Save a Sam. Please visit the website to see photos and information on what this nonprofit does for these animals.
This is a great cause and I think the Pay it Forward campaign by the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation is an amazing opportunity to give to so many deserving causes all of which make the world a better place. Thank you for letting me take part in it for 2019
The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation has done a wonderful job giving back to individuals and organizations of many communities. I want to say thank you for involving your employees in The Pay It Forward program.
I decided to pay it forward to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Cystic fibrosis is a life-shortening, progressive genetic disease that affects a child’s digestive and respiratory systems. It requires daily medication, therapy and monitoring. Due to minimal federal and pharmaceutical funding, cystic fibrosis research is largely dependent on private donations. Many strides have been made to improve the life expectancy of cystic fibrosis patients, however a cure is out of reach without continued donations.
The 6th Annual Cystic Fibrosis March Madness Calcutta was held in Butte on March 20th. This fundraiser has raised close to $100,000 for cystic fibrosis research since its inauguration. With the pay it forward card, I purchased $500 worth of merchandise to be auctioned off in a live auction. The merchandise went to the highest bidder for $550, with 100 percent of these proceeds going towards research for cystic fibrosis.
I am extremely grateful to have this opportunity to give back to a cause that is close to my heart. I have a six-year-old relative in Butte that was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis shortly after birth. Donations towards cystic fibrosis give her and her family hope that one day this disease can be cured.
Thank you to the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation. The Pay it Forward program is an extremely generous way to remind all of us to focus a little more on others.
I gave the Pay it Forward card to a friend of mine who recently struggled through several surgeries. Although not life threatening, she endured three surgeries – an initial surgery followed by two more unplanned procedures due to infection and other complications. As a single mom, the impact of more than two months away from work and the additional medical bills put a very real strain on her personal finances. It was nice to be able to help her out in this way.
Thanks again for promoting such a positive culture of giving.
I donated my Pay It Forward $500 gift to Alexa Bachler, daughter of MRL Locomotive Engineer Josh Bachler. Alexa suffers from a rare disease called Juvenile Dermatomyositis. It is a chronic illness that she will have for the rest of her life. The goal is to get it into remission.
Alexa goes to Children’s Hospital in Seattle twice a year, and gets treatments in Billings, and one treatment at home every week. It is a skin and muscle disease, and she is highly sensitive to sunlight. The treatment she gets weekly is a small dose of chemotherapy. Alexa has been getting treatments since December of 2017, after being diagnosed at the age of nine. Dad Josh says, “She’s tough and we have learned a lot from her.”
As an MRL Locomotive Engineer myself, I have personally worked with Josh over the last several years, and have learned firsthand of the emotional and financial challenges he and his young family have been coping with. I feel his daughter Alexa is the perfect candidate to Pay It Forward to, and I proudly offer her this gift of $500 on behalf of the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation.
Andrew G. Guirguis
Montana Rail Link, Inc.
I donated my Pay It Forward card to The Big Heart Big Smile Foundation in Snohomish, WA. This new foundation is in memory of Kaci Edelbrock. She is the granddaughter of Mike Edelbrock owner of our long time customer Mickelo Construction of Monroe Washington.
Mike was driving back from Eastern Washington labor day weekend 2018 in his motor home with his family members when a front tire blew out and caused a terrible accident. Mike is slowly recovering after lower body paralysis but unfortunately his wife Lois and granddaughter Kaci died in the accident. Some of his passenger grandchildren and adult daughter were also injured. Kaci was the daughter of Boyd and Joni Edelbrock. Boyd is Mike’s eldest son and is running the family business as Mike is working hard to regain the hopeful ability to walk again.
Thank you so much Washington Foundation for providing me the opportunity to give even more back to our community. I’m proud to Pay It Forward!!
Julie Van Hise, recipient story
I spoke to a local school counselor explaining that I would like to donate this card to a deserving family in need. This is the letter I received
Thank you for your generous gift of a $500 gift card for a family in need in our community. A single dad in our community is the primary care provider for his kids. In the past couple of years he has slowly gained trust in school staff most notably by sometimes calling to request for extra food for his family. He is currently living with extended family and is frequently in charge of kids of his extended family as well as his own. When he calls for help, it is usually because his car isn’t working. There is no question this dad is trying his hardest and it is very clear his family is his priority. Life just continually knocks this guy around. When the gift card was presented as an option, there was no question in my mind who could use the money. I had the honor of presenting it to him prior to our Easter break. I told him, please use this money to fix your car, buy beds, or whatever you feel like you need for your family. He gratefully, and tearfully, said thank you and that he was going to buy the kids some new shoes and his daughter the “yellow dress she has been wanting from Walmart.” MRL – this gift, was truly impactful.
First I would like to thank the Dennis and Phyllis Foundation and Montana Rail Link for this opportunity. The first donation made was to Billings West High School. I purchased eight, twenty-five dollar gift cards to be distributed by school counselors to students in need. Study supplies, clothing, and food would be available through these cards. Our next donation was to the Help for Homeless Pets animal shelter in Billings. My family and I were able to make a large donation of dog and cat food, treats, toys, and cleaning supplies. We adopted our pet from this shelter, and were impressed by the passion, dedication, and kindness shown to the animals in their care. It survives solely through donations and volunteer work. They do not turn away any pet, and are their as a result of being abandoned or taken out of abusive situations. Many animals arrive injured, and are provided with immediate medical care as well. My final donation was made to the City of Billings Fire and Rescue Department. They are raising funds to outfit every fire vehicle in the city with a children’s crisis kit. This kit provides a stuffed animal, coloring books, crayons,and other items to be given to a child that may have been involved in a fire, accident, or other traumatic incident.
Thank You again for enabling my family and I to help causes that we agreed were important to us, and feel will make a difference in our community.
As a Veteran myself, I chose to use my Pay it Forward Card to help Veterans. Our local American Legion Post 129 in Paradise, Mt. burnt down approximately 5 years ago, it was a total loss. After extensive fundraising, it was rebuilt and opened late last year. With 2019 being the 100th Anniversary of the American Legion Organization and the 70th Anniversary of the Local Post 129 in Paradise, I felt compelled to help my fellow veterans.
I realized that the Post did not have any flags, they were planning on marching in parades in the area, but did not have the flags needed to do so. Usually an American Legion Post will have the United States Flag, the American Legion flag and a flag for each of the Armed Services, Marines, Navy, Army, Air Force and Coast Guard. These are usually hung in the Post and used throughout the year for parades and other events. With the first parade that they are entered for being held June 1, I sat down with the Post Commander and we ordered the flags they needed through the American Legion website.
This will help our local American Legion participate in events in the future with pride. They are also able to show the community their patriotism and pride of serving our great country. Thank you Dennis and Phyllis Washington for allowing me to help the veterans of our community!
I donated my giving card to the Scott Firefighter Stairclimb challenge. My son Tyler is one of the firefighters from Spokane County Fire District 3.
On Sunday, March 10th, 4 firefighters from Spokane County Fire District 3 participated in the Firefighter Stairclimb in Seattle. This is a fundraising event to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. All funding raised for the Stairclimb will go towards research and development of a cure for all types of blood cancers.
This event hosts 2,000 career and volunteer firefighters from departments all over the United States and the world. We will be racing to the top of the Columbia Center, the tallest building in Seattle, while wearing full structural firefighting gear. That’s more than 50 lbs while masked and breathing air from a bottle. We will be climbing 69 floors with 788′ of vertical elevation. This will be my 4th time competing, and I plan reach the top without changing air bottles.
Each firefighter had to raise at least $300 in order to participate in the Stairclimb.
This year the $500.00 helped the Firefighter Stairclimb Challenge reach 97% of the goal, $2,918,797.00 of $3,000,000.00.
Thank you Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation for the generous gift !
We have two of their dogs living with us, Jane and Patty. Jane was found wandering by the river in Billings a few years ago, while Patty was found in Laurel this last winter. Tails As Old As Time will pay all medical bills for these older rescue dogs, as long as someone provides their ‘forever home’. Older dogs are harder to place so it is good there is an animal rescue devoted just to their cause!
I have the privilege of knowing some amazing single moms. I find it awe-inspiring that both these women work full time and take care of two children. Velvet and Zonda are two of the most generous, loving moms that I know. I was so grateful for the opportunity to pay it forward to both of them by giving them each a $200 Walmart gift card.
The remaining $100 will go to our friends the McClain’s. They have had some very difficult medical issues the past couple months, including their 8 year old being diagnosed with diabetes.
Thank you Dennis and Phyllis!
PER Kalie Vest (Parkers Mom)- Parker Jane was born November 7th, 2018 with Tetralogy of Fallot with an ASD which are severe congenital heart defects. The four defects that make up Tetralogy of Fallot are pulmonary atresia, overriding aorta, thickening of the right ventricle muscle wall, a VSD (ventricular septal defect, a hole between the bottom halves of her heart) plus an ASD (atrial septal defect, a hole between the top halves of her heart). During an X-ray immediately after birth we discovered Parker also has congenital scoliosis and various fused ribs on the left side. Parker had her full repair via open heart surgery at just six days old on November 13th, 2018. We spent 45 days at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, UT before being discharged home for the first time. She has since been life flighted, twice, to St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital in Boise, ID for what was unknown respiratory distress. Through her second admission we learned that because of her scoliosis and fused ribs her left lung is undeveloped and her right lung is hyper extended making it quite difficult to make both lungs and the heart happy. Parker suffered her first cardiac and respiratory arrest on February 7th, 2019 leading her to be intubated to keep her safe. Three days later she suffered a second cardiac arrest and the only way to keep her Earth side was to medically paralyze her and let the breathing machine do all of the work for her. Parker was left intubated until we collectively, with the help from her doctors, decided to trach her as well as give her a semi-permanent feeding tube called the G tube. On February 28th, 2019 Parker had her double surgery and was wheeled back into her room a new baby! There was a light at the end of our long, dark tunnel! Eight days later things quickly unraveled. Parker had a 105 degree fever that no amount of intervention could break. She went into septic shock as her tiny body tried to preserve its major organs. We learned she had had a stroke and was seizing. She was put into a medically induced coma for three days in hopes it would give her brain the chance to reset itself. It was a success. Once Parker was stable enough she was wheeled downstairs for an MRI to see the extent of the damage done to her brain from the stroke and seizures. Miraculously, it appears to be minimal, but we won’t know for sure if she will have deficits until she is older. The brain is a powerful organ, the remaining brain cells can relearn that of those that died as a result of her injuries. As we have gotten further from the dates of her cardiac arrests and stroke Parker’s heart failure number has dropped from greater than 5,000 to 52. She has regained strength and mobility in her right side, which seemed to be affected most from her stroke. We have been inpatient 102 days, and counting, but have gained knowledge and strength in those difficult, hard and beautiful days. Parker is a survivor. The power of prayer is real. And I have witnessed too many of God’s miracles to not believe in His existence in all of our lives.
We have a Facebook page called Sweet P’s special heart. I encourage you to follow along as I will continue to update all who are invested in our warrior girl. Our goal is to spread awareness and be a beacon of hope as Parker’s light shines so bright. This story is built on a foundation of faith, hope and love which wouldn’t be possible without everyone’s support and prayers. Just like the scars on Parker’s chest, we will leave our mark.
First of all, thank you so much Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation for implementing the Pay-It-Forward program. When I found out my name was drawn, so many good organizations came to mind that could really benefit from this and I fully support. It was quite a dilemma to choose only one or two and which way to go; Watson’s Children Shelter, Missoula Youth Homes, Special Olympics, The Dragon Hollow Playground update, Camp-Make-A-Dream, the Animal Shelter, etc….; but one dilemma I would never complain about.
I was leaning towards Missoula Youth Homes since there a quite a few organizations that cater to younger kids, but not as many to the older youth. Kind of what I call the “Puppy Syndrome”. People love to get puppies because they’re so cute and playful, but don’t want to take care of them when they get older. They still need love and attention, but just don’t get it like when they were younger. Missoula Youth Homes fills this gap and provides support until the teens become adults through Family Support Services and Group Home Care.
What I didn’t realize, until recently, is that they also help with foster care and adoption through The Dan Fox Family Care Program. This surprised me and was the determining factor for this years recipient, as it reaches all aged children.
Potomac School, a small K-8 school, used my PIF card to purchase the following items which will be used by students:
Pop-up Canopy (currently being used by the track team and will be used for other sports teams and at outdoor fund raisers and other school events)
The teachers were very thankful for the gift!
Thanks to the generosity of the foundation, I donated to the Missoula Life Maintenance Center “Joey’s Place;” (MLMC). MLMC was founded by a longtime family friend, Mikey after the loss of his brother to suicide. Suicide is a major public health concern. Over 40,000 people die by suicide each year in the United States; it is the 10th leading cause of death overall. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 34. Suicide is complicated and tragic but it is often preventable. The Missoula Life Maintenance Center will be a free community based “Drop in Center” guided towards helping people with behavioral health issues. MLMC will be starting a new trend in health and wellness, offer peer support specialists, life coaching, art, music, mindfulness activities, recreation and gardening; offering a place that doesn’t carry a stigma behind it and talks opening about suicide. We’re all in it together.
Speaking with Mike, the pay it forward gift card was used to purchase an external hard drive to safely store valuable data, as well as purchasing additional ‘we’re all in it together’ bracelets that will be handed out at community awareness events.
Learn more about MLMC at https://www.missoulalmc.com/. If you know someone in crisis call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls are confidential.
I gave my Pay-it-Forward card to Jase Leister’s parents.
Jase was born with Apert Syndrom, an incredibly rare disease that affects an estimated 1/88,0000 newborns. During his first year of life, Jase had 124 appointments, which doesn’t account for an additional five surgeries and 76 days in the hospital. Jase and his family have had a difficult year but keep moving forward with tremendous hope and love.
Jase’s family was extremely grateful to receive this generous gift and used the money for general expenses and to help with medical expenses.
To learn more about Jase and his incredible story, please visit their Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1876049412419081/
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to help a family in need.
Custer County Council on Aging, recipient story
I received a Pay It Forward $500 gift card and donated it to the Ronald McDonald House in Seattle, Washington. This house provides sleeping accommodations, meals, & other services for families with children who are receiving treatment at the Children’s Hospital. Their services are provided for a small donation or free of charge for anyone in need.
My close friend and co-worker from Butte, has a grandson that was born with some medical issues that required care at the Seattle Children’s Hospital. While the baby received care, his family utilized the services provided by the Ronald McDonald house for approximately seven months, making their time away from home a little easier and less of a financial burden.
The Ronald McDonald house is a non-profit organization that runs on donations, and I felt this was a very worthy organization to receive the gift card.
Thank you to the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation for your generosity & for the Pay It Forward program.
Due to the generosity of the Foundation, I was able to gift my card to a local school teacher. Her story is below:
My name is Taylor Hassler, and I am the teacher of a Functional Life Skills Classroom for grades 9-12 at Capital High School in Helena, MT. Each student in this classroom has one or more type of a cognitive disability. Teaching functional daily living skills is vital to these students as we prepare them for their post-secondary lives, with the ultimate goal to be as independent as possible.
With the great honor of being chosen for this $500 gift, I thought a lot about the best way to put it to use so that my current and future students would benefit from this for more than just this year. Funded completely by your generosity, I have used this money to start a coffee shop business for our classroom! I have purchased the supplies and tools to set up a beverage business in our classroom. Not only will this continue to benefit the students’ needs by bringing money directly back into our classroom, but it will also teach the students invaluable skills in money management and social skills, among many other important skills.
We will start this coffee business at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year by offering a wide variety of coffee and hot chocolate options to our students and faculty. I am so thankful for the generosity of your foundation to be able to start this business for the benefit of these wonderful students.
In the last 5 years Jamison has lived in Corvallis, OR. He fell on some hard times with physical and mental health issues. During that time, he also saw the birth of his daughter Seraquin. He has been a very hands on Dad and eventually gained sole custody of his daughter. He is currently working towards a certificate to be a mental health counselor. At the same time, he is also working at McDonalds. His plans are to move back to Montana to start working in mental health and to be closer to his family. Unfortunately, he lost his drivers license with a speeding ticket. The fines ended up totally $800.00. This is a huge amount of money on a limited income. The fines must be paid in cash. This has been a hardship. Jameson has done what many people do and that is juggle money around.
He has used the Pay It Forward cash to pay for bills, Seraquin’s Boys & Girls membership and a few father daughter dates. This has allowed him to build up some cash in his checking account to pay down the fines.
Below are some conversations we have had concerning the card and his plans.
“Oh I finally got it. I’m bawling now. This is gonna turn our shizz around…just the boost we needed…now I can get my license back and get a real job for real money with real hours! And I can return to my family and my homeland…You guys…I don’t think I could have made it through all these last few years without you, and I know I wouldn’t have survived this long in the world had you not been part of my life since I was 12. I get feisty, temperamental and butt hurt but I’ve always thanked the heavens for sending you into our lives. Most importantly for how you take care of my brother…the best man on Earth!”Amelinda: “Glad you got the card. You have always had a special place in my heart. Even though at times you stepped all over it. I think you needed time to grow and figure a few things out. And a few punches in the arm as a wake up call.
When you are closer to moving keep us posted.”
Amelinda: “I am touching base to see how things are going with your drivers license. I am going to write the paper for the Pay It Forward program soon. How did you end up spending the money? Hope you are starting to feel better.”
Jamison: “I have been stymied in my efforts to get my license this week as SQ has woken with 101 fever and I have to take care of that, though I’m going to make payment arrangements today. I still have most of the money on that card, as I’ve been using it in place of my debit card for nonfood items so I can save the money in my account for the tickets. So it’s been spent on gas, some eating out (when I was too sick to cook), some entertainment (like going to see Shazam). So basically I’m just shifting my household (nonrent/ power/ phone) bills to the card so I can use the money paying off my $800 in fines (for getting a 15 mile over speeding ticket, and not reporting to court, which I thought was admission of guilt and you just pay the fine, but here in Oregon, they revoke your license, if you don’t go back to the town’s traffic court witch runs half a day once a month. So, I don’t know, I’m feeling way behind the 8 ball here. But, though this seems whiny, I’m under the impression that all this is just the final layers of obstacles so I can back to MT.”.
Jamison: “The transactions are mostly small things, Like I pay SQ’s boys and girls club, and i’ve used it for our daddy daughter dates (where we go to eat) and my plan is to continue to use it for things like that (gas, food) anything I would spend my regular money on so that I’m not using what’s in my checking so I can use that as a lump sum for the ticket. Probably the most confusing way of doing that, I know. And I don’t know how to communicate that I’m using the money and it is going towards things we need, and is the only reason I can pay my ticket right now. But I can put a few more bills on the card as well.”
Jamison: “Used it today to pay for her Boys and Girls club…I have no clue how much is left on it, but paid off two months today. Should have my license in two weeks! This asthma kicked me off my feet and set me back three months, but now every day is a step closer to getting home.
We are hoping Jamison and Seragquin are able to move back to Montana this summer. The $500.00 was a start to this goal to create a new life with a new career and be closer to family. Thank you for your generosity.
My dad passed away two years ago he would be 63 years old this month. When he passed everything for my mom came to abrupt stop and sent her world into a confused and sad mess. My younger brother worked at the shop for my dad so he stepped in and tried to run the business but it wasn’t doing to well at it, but at least my moms mortgage on the shop and house was being made and she was taken care of. My dad had no retirement and no life insurance so mom pretty much had nothing. Then when things we thought may be getting better everything came to another scary halt. My brother was in a snowmobile accident this winter, me and my other younger brother were with him when he wrecked his sled into a ice wall. My brother died on impact. This was devastating to my family, especially my mom, he was kind of always her favorite and also was keeping the business and my mom afloat. I’m in no position to be able to do the business and do my job with modern. I gave any extra money I had saved to my mom, and that has strained my life, we are still coming out of the hole from my daughter, she had a life threatening issue which caused her to go through a liver transplant, one of the most scariest times of my life and heart wrenching.
So with all these events that happened I know life can be short and stress can be a major fact in it, That’s why I decided to giving the Pay it forward card to my mom she definitely needed it to help her get by. I greatly appreciate what Mr. and Mrs. Washington do for this and think it’s a great gift and very giving. I enjoy working for modern machinery and is a great company, I’m a field technician and is important for me to give back in effort and work ethic, for appreciation for everything.
Terri Hartly, recipient story
I was able to purchase supplies and children’s t-shirts for our summer program, LINKS for Learning! We are an afterschool and summer program that serves Park County’s youth from grades K-5. In the summer we run seven weeks of summer enrichment programming, Monday-Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. It includes healthy breakfasts, lunches, and afternoon snacks as well as field trips. 50% of our enrollment is made up of children from low-income households. This donation made a huge difference!!
Samantha Chagnon, recipient story
Havre Trails, Inc. is a nonprofit organization located in rural Havre, MT. Havre Trails (HT) has a mission to promote healthy lifestyles, safety, access to outdoor recreation, and a pride of place by improving the walking and biking trails in Hill County, MT. Havre Trails is the go-to organization in Havre for hiking and outdoor recreation and, each year, HT hosts a summer hike series, an outdoor Summer Brewfest, a fall stargazing event, and several other recreation-related events throughout the year. The summer hike series sees nearly 40 participants per hike, and the Summer Brewfest had nearly 1,000 attendees in 2018.
Hill County is proud to be home to the largest county park in the entire United States, Beaver Creek Park. One of the main goals of Havre Trails is to conduct outreach about the existing trails and outdoor activities in Beaver Creek Park and the surrounding Hill County area. HT is also dedicated to expanding the trail system in Beaver Creek Park. In the last year, HT has completed construction on 1.25 new miles of trail in the park. The new trail is called Rotary Canyon Loop Trail. This year, HT plans to expand the trail with an additional 1.25 miles of trail.
With the Pay It Forward Giving Card, Havre Trails was able to purchase a handheld GPS machine and a map chip to be used with the handheld GPS. This equipment will be extremely valuable in assisting Havre Trails to map existing trails in the Hill County area, to scout new trail routes for continued trail construction, and to create maps and marketing materials to help promote the hiking and recreational trails in Hill County. Additionally, being able to create data points with the GPS to create route maps will allow HT to upload trail information to popular hiking apps like Hike Wild Montana and All Trails.
Being able to market existing and new trail routes via Facebook, the local Chamber of Commerce website, brochures, apps, and other social media outlets will help to get residents outdoors and help to attract people from outside of the county, including out-of-state and Canadian visitors. With additional visitors coming to the area for hiking and recreation, the town of Havre and surrounding area will benefit economically with more people staying overnight in hotels, shopping at local stores, purchasing gas and food, and enjoying the other amenities that Havre and Hill County have to offer.
Havre Trails is very grateful to the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation for their generous support of outdoor recreation in rural Montana through their donation to Havre Trails. Thank you!
There is another amazing thing that happened for this program because of this donation. Word got out that there was a $500 donation for this program and a challenge was put out to the community to match it. A company in town wrote a $500 check to match the Pay It Forward donation and then $500 in cash and food were donated. This $500 Pay It Forward showed this community a model generosity and charity that they were able to mimic in a way that will further allow this “food closet” to help the high school kids at Stevensville High School.
First of all, thanks to the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation for the privilege to be a part of the Pay It Forward Charitable Giving Program. This is an amazing program, with incredible impacts being realized to many people and groups.
I donated the giving card to Silver Bow Kiwanis, which I have been a member of for over 9 years. The giving card was specifically given to support their Pancakes for Playgrounds initiative, with the giving card not only allowing for additional cookware and utensils to be used for years to come, but also for food for the 2019 pancake breakfast. The Pancakes for Playgrounds fundraiser is a key fundraiser for a major emphasis project that the Silver Bow Kiwanis group is undertaking. The goal of the project is to repair and/or rehabilitate multiple “pocket” playgrounds within Butte-Silver Bow that may have been neglected through the years. The purpose of this is to help to serve some that may be underprivileged, or merely lack adequate transportation to get to some of the larger playgrounds throughout Butte-Silver Bow. The donation was greatly appreciated, with a return on investment well into the future!
Dear Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation,
Thank you for the opportunity to give a $500 Charitable Giving Card to a well deserved Billings Public School.
I chose to give the 1st/2nd multi-age classroom at Arrowhead Elementary School in Billings, MT my Pay it Forward card. Arrowhead Elementary is my neighborhood school and is an exemplary K-5 school in our district. This neighborhood school works very hard to promote a positive, safe and academically challenging environment. Their school motto is “Building knowledge, character, and community in each child.”
Arrowhead was fortunate to be able to make each of their primary classrooms, kindergarten through 2nd grade 1:1 iPad classrooms. These classrooms have also been given extensive training on using those iPads to create pieces of work and journal about those works in SeeSaw for Schools. The 2nd grade team was in need of some good quality, kid-friendly headphones to make creations easier to edit and listen to in this open-classroom school. These headphones will also be used in facilitation of classroom centers using technology such as Listening to Reading, math fluency applications and sharing of created videos throughout the very diverse curriculum.
I appreciate your awarding me the opportunity to share my Pay it Forward story and look forward to gifting another deserving classroom in the future. It feels great to give back to our community’s most worthy investment, the children of Montana.
Train Master/Road Foreman -Billings/Laurel Yard
I donated my Pay It Forward $500 gift to Alexa Bachler, daughter of MRL Locomotive Engineer Josh Bachler. Alexa suffers from a rare disease called Juvenile Dermatomyositis. It is a chronic illness that she will have for the rest of her life. The goal is to get it into remission.
Alexa goes to Children’s Hospital in Seattle twice a year, and gets treatments in Billings, and one treatment at home every week. It is a skin and muscle disease, and she is highly sensitive to sunlight. The treatment she gets weekly is a small dose of chemotherapy. Alexa has been getting treatments since December of 2017, after being diagnosed at the age of nine. Dad Josh says, “She’s tough and we have learned a lot from her.”
As an MRL Locomotive Engineer myself, I have personally worked with Josh over the last several years, and have learned firsthand of the emotional and financial challenges he and his young family have been coping with. I feel his daughter Alexa is the perfect candidate to Pay It Forward to, and I proudly offer her this gift of $500 on behalf of the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation.
Andrew G. Guirguis
Montana Rail Link, Inc.
The Pay It Forward card is above and beyond what any words can say. When you show up at someone’s door with a gift and tell them what it is all about, hand them the boxes of food. The smiles, hugs and tears are more than the word thanks can ever say. My Pay It Forward card went to two families this year. I purchased goods from the meat block in Butte, steaks, roasts, pork and delivered to the two families, they were very, very appreciative and smiles from ear to ear. One little girl even asked “momma what is a seasoned steak?” Thank you for giving Montana Resources employees the opportunity to change and brighten someone’s day through the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Pay It Forward card.
Sincerely, Montana Resources employee
My family decided to Pay It Forward to All Hearts Rescue. They are an all-volunteer and non-profit organization in Polson Montana that rescues unwanted or abandoned dogs, cats and various other types of animals. They are taken in from local and non-local shelters where they would otherwise be euthanized if not adopted. All Hearts works with shelters, tribal animal control, and anyone that needs to find an unwanted pet a home. All of All Hearts Rescue’s pets are up for adoption, vaccinated up to date and spayed or neutered. They work hard to find ALL animals in need of a loving forever home!