A Good Samaritan from Alabama secretly paid for people's prescriptions for a decade
An act of true selflessness is very rare in this era of egotism, narcissism, and self-centeredness.
Even people claiming to perform acts of charity in secret find ways to make their kindness public in order to be celebrated. These generous individuals readily talk at length about not wanting to talk about their charity.
Just as you begin to lose faith in mankind, a rare instance of true selflessness presents itself.
The Good Samaritan in question was Hody Childress from Geraldine, Alabama, who passed away on Jan. 1, 2023, at the age of 80.
It was only upon his passing that many living in his neighborhood and beyond learned of Childress's act of kindness for which he ensured he earned no public appreciation while he lived.
For every month for more than a decade, Childress had made anonymous cash donations to the Geraldine Drugs pharmacy, with a goal to help neighbors struggling to pay for prescription medication.
Childress's family and donors from across the United States have vowed to continue his legacy.
So who was Childress?
Childress was an Air Force veteran and a farmer.
He leaves behind his wife, Martha Jo Childress; daughter, Tania Nix; his son, Douglas, his step-children, sister, brothers, and grandchildren.
Childress's personal life was far from easy.
He lost his first wife after a long illness and his father and his middle child, a son, in a tornado during the 1970s.
But personal tragedies did not make Childress bitter or cynical. In fact, these tragedies may have been the driving force behind his helping the less fortunate.
"'I want it to be anonymous. I don't want to know any details on who you use it on, just tell them this is a blessing from the Lord,'" he told Brooke Walker, pharmacist and co-owner of Geraldine Drugs, to whom he would hand over his monthly charitable donations of $100.
Geraldine is a close-knit community of about 1,000 residents.
From the accounts reported in the media, it seems like the kind of town we saw in movies during the golden era of Hollywood and the U.S., where everyone was kind, friendly, and generous.
Geraldine has a tradition of neighbors helping one another, as well as a number of people who need the help. About 19 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data from 2020, which is higher than the national average.
When he wasn't helping people, Childress enjoyed cultivating his garden, the products of which were fresh strawberries and tomatoes that he handed out freely all around Geraldine.
"He'd make peanut brittle for my staff and drop it off," said Walker.
When he became too ill with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to leave his home, he confided his secret charity to his daughter, Tania, who handed over his money for him. She pledged to continue the charity.
Walker estimates that the total amount of Childress's contributions was roughly $10,000. Walker said Childress never, ever missed a month in contributions.
Walker said Childress's kindness helped at least two people a month who didn't have the funds or insurance or whose benefits didn't cover their prescription medicine.
Last fall, one of those beneficiaries was Eli Schlageter, who works part-time on a poultry farm run by Childress's son, Douglas, and founded by Childress.
When Walker told Eli's mother, who is a secretary for the principal at Geraldine High School, that money from an anonymous donor would cover the cost of her medication, she was overcome by emotion.
However, they never knew the identity of their benefactor until it was reported by the media.
Eli's mother said, "What he doesn't know, now that he's in heaven, is that he helped a kid that works on a farm that he started. Look at that circle."
The nature of the news media is such that the focus is always on the unusual and the abnormal, which compels them to traverse into dark territories that spread despair. The unfortunate result is the lights of hope that can illuminate society are overlooked.
This reportage had an impact.
Since the news of Childress's largess was reported, Tania and the pharmacist Brooke Walker received numerous calls and messages on social media from across the United States from people eager to donate to this worthy cause.
Walker received a check from someone in Tennessee.
Another individual from Miami called Walker to say that unless he needed the money, he would approach his local pharmacy and start his own Hody Childress account.
Another individual from Washington state called Walker and informed her that he wanted to donate a year's worth of funds in Childress's name to pay for prescription bills.
The other impact of this wide reportage is that it debunks the relentless, vicious, spurious campaign by the Democrats, the news media, and showbiz against people who live in Southern states such as Alabama.
These states are derisively referred to as flyover country just because they voted for Trump. The residents of these states are usually portrayed as bitter, bigoted, anachronistic, violent, and intolerant ignoramuses.
Childress's generosity and his unwillingness to receive any recognition for it and the close-knit community of Geraldine emphatically debunk that bogus narrative.
Not that residents of Alabama or any of the Southern states need to defend themselves or seek approval from others, but an accurate depiction is essential to bridge the widening division across the country.
It is essential that this trend of reporting acts of kindness continues; perhaps every news outfit should dedicate a small daily or perhaps weekly news segment to heroes and Good Samaritans like Childress.
Childress's kindness is similar to acts of heroism witnessed in recent times.
Late year, Army veteran Richard Fierro's fearless actions saved lives at a mass shooting at a nightclub in Colorado late last year. Louie Suljovic and Cazim Suljovic placed themselves in harm's way to save a 61-year-old woman from being attacked and robbed outside their New York restaurant. A few weeks back, the heroic efforts of California delivery driver Ervin Ruhe, Jr. helped save a dog from a burning vehicle.
It is about time that these real-life heroes and Good Samaritans are consistently celebrated for their courage and kindness.
Perhaps Childress will be the subject of books, documentaries, and movies.
Childress should posthumously be given the Presidential Medal of Honor.
If Biden doesn't do it, perhaps President Trump will in 2025.
In the end, a society that celebrates heroism and selflessness will encourage and perpetuate heroism and selflessness.
Image: Screen shot from ABC 7 video, Tania Nix, via YouTube.