What is the Sequoia project?

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Wausau, Wisconsin, United States
The Sequoia tree is one of the largest in the world. The seed is the size of a grain of wheat. One kind act will often seem unimportant but has ripple effects across humanity.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Made a sign for the Salvation Army.

This morning I took a handcrafted sign down to our local Salvation Army and presented it to the captain. The sign read ‘HOPE’. He had an idea where to put it as soon as he read it. The look on his face showed appreciation, with a touch of bewilderment. This organization see’s first hand the struggles of so many people. The reason for the sign is to help lives who are in need of believing in a better tomorrow. A simple word can say so much. Life dishes out hard hits and unjust situations for all of us, at one time or another. We hope for an answer, a change of circumstance, or even a miracle. Some are hanging on to hope with all the strength they have.

What would life be like living with no hope? What would the world be like? To best describe what it is, I decided to look at what it would be like without it. I have often heard ‘there is no hope’ for some people or circumstances. I do not believe it. I have seen both change.

In each town, big and small, there are lives feeling turmoil and fear. Some question how they will ever go on and are in need of human compassion. Maybe they lost a job, a home, or a loved one. Maybe they struggle with disease or economical hardships. What would these lives believe in if there was no hope? I hoped this sign will be viewed when it is needed the most. I was sure it would be. A very simple action that could be the words another needs at their darkest hour.

About 6 hours was spent making the sign. Each letter was cut out, sanded, stained, and made to spell out the word. You’d think that it would be hard to part with something worked so hard on. It wasn’t. A car was filled with people outside of this building. Everything they owned was tied to the top. I felt bad that I could not give more. I wanted to reach in my pocket and give them the money needed. My pockets were empty though. I’ll probably never forget the looks of despair on their faces.

Some of these projects are uncomfortable, which makes them that more in need. To help some a person has to go right where the need is most. I am not one who can walk away and pretend that I didn’t see someone hurting. Look a different direction or look past like I never seen a thing. I was asked by one of the people if I could help them out with some gas money. I told him that I was flat broke today and had brought only a sign saying the words ‘hope’. I felt stupid and it was clumsy. I was sure they were thinking that ‘hope’ would not fill their gas tank. The answer back I will also always remember “Thank you. Hope is what we need the most right now”. With that our lives went two different directions.

UPDATE: The response received from Captain Brian was what fuels this project.

Thank you so very much. I read your post on the blog and was very touched by it and the comments posted by others. My plan is to place "Hope" in our homeless shelter in such a way that it's the first thing the residents see as they walk in the doors, ushering them into a place of hope.

--Capt. Brian

This story has also been featured at a website which has brought over 5000 viewers since September 13,2009. Skipping a stone takes on a life of it's own. Comments posted are also from different areas of the world. Thank you.