After serving his country in Afghanistan, a U.S. soldier is now serving the people in his own backyard — this time, as an electrician.
Joshua Matthews, who served in the U.S. Army, completed two tours in Afghanistan with the 45th Infantry Division.
Now, he lives and works as an apprentice with Dane Electric in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
On a cold winter day, Matthews received a text message from a couple who attends his church, asking for prayer.
It was Stacy and Josh Lemonds, a couple Matthews had met just a few weeks ago when they brought a meal to his house when his wife was sick.
Stacy and Josh were having some major electrical problems in their home, which was built in 1945.
The original outdated wiring couldn’t hold up any longer, leaving the Lemonds family without heat.
Stacy and Josh didn’t know that Matthews was an electrician, they were simply asking people in their church marriage group for prayer.
They were surprised when Matthews texted them back, offering to come over and take a look at the problem.
The damage was so severe that Oklahoma Gas and Electric came and removed the meter to the family’s home, saying it was a fire hazard and that the Lemonds needed to have their electrical wiring fixed and inspected before the company would restore the electrical hookup.
Stacy and Josh, who have been out of work with no income, worried about how they could come up with the money for such a major repair.
Being part of a church community saved the Lemonds from being homeless and without heat. Friends from their church paid for a hotel for the couple while Matthews worked on the home.
Matthews teamed up with his colleague, journeyman electrician Christian Harbison, to get the property up to code.
Dane Electric decided to waive the couple’s charges, taking the work on for free.
“We sat out in the car in the rain, watching him,” Stacy told KFOR-TV.
“It was cold and I just didn’t want him to hurt himself because he was going up those aluminum ladders, and I didn’t want him to slip and fall in the dark,” she said.
“He’s just an amazing friend and a servant of God, he’s really a servant.”
Days after the work was complete, Matthews came back to the property for what he thought was a routine inspection.
Instead, he was handed a $400 dollar check from First Fidelity Bank as the latest recipient of the bank’s “Pay It 4Ward” program.
Matthews accepted the award with a surprised smile, telling Stacy he never expected anything in return for his work.
“It’s been humbling, but it’s also been an amazing experience to see people love — just love because they love, and just give,” Stacy said.
“And thankfully, today I get to give back a little bit, and that’s just amazing to me that I can pay it forward,” she said.
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