If you happened to pass by Norm’s Market-Keg & Bottleshop in Lake Stevens, Washington, in November 2018, you’d most likely have come across a sign that read, “Now accepting firewood donations for cold homes here.” This firewood mission, initiated by its business owner, Shane McDaniel, has not only helped heat homes in the community; it has also warmed hearts across the globe.
When Shane McDaniel, a single dad of six, was a kid, he cut wood with his father.
Reminiscing these precious memories from his childhood days while also clearing a large number of fallen trees on his property in Lake Stevens, Shane started chopping wood with his 21-year-old twin sons—Henry and Harrison—back in March 2018.
“I had a lot of wood I had to cut because of storm damage and trees that were taken down,” Shane told PEOPLE.
Shane, Henry, and Harrison, along with some friends, then spent the next few months chopping and splitting the wood. By October 2018, they amassed nearly 40 cords of firewood—enough to fill 80 trucks.
We have disabled veterans who burned their last piece 2 weeks ago who only burn wood. The elderly, some of whom know hardly a soul….no son to call no daughter…no one. Not to mention the families who have lost everything to cancer…including their father. Some of them didn’t have jack shit before the cancer….and now they’ve lost that too. As a father of 6 I know it is impossible to keep kids from getting cold wet feet. It all weighs on me heavily. Please…if you have downed trees…Please be patient….my boys and I are out working…even in the rain and snow, cutting and collecting storm damage downed trees everyday. It’s very heavy, difficult work but we are giving it our all. Our first work party meets at Norm’s Market 9 a.m. Jan 12, 2019.Thank You for sharing, without you hitting that share button we would never be able to collect and deliver fraction of the firewood donations we are collecting Thank You—- Shane McDaniel
Posted by Shane McDaniel on Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Speaking to KOMO News about their initiative, Shane said, “I’ve gone through more chainsaw blades than I have in a lifetime.”
The trio would chop wood whenever they had “spare time.”
“It could be we chop wood all week and take the weekend off, or chop wood all weekend and take the week off. But it’s been almost non-stop,” Harrison said.
“It could be 15 minutes, 20 minutes, before dinner, after dinner…,” Henry chimed in.
The enormous piles of wood in the McDaniels’ driveway caught the attention of many passersby, who would stop to inquire if the firewood was on sale. But every time, Shane and his sons would turn them down by saying it wasn’t for sale, despite the fact that it could sell for about US$10,000.
Meanwhile, Shane came up with a better idea: he wanted to deliver the firewood—“seasoned and ready to warm homes”—to families in need during the cold winter, free of charge.
To start off the firewood mission, Shane took to Facebook to post his powerful message.
“We had our first big freeze now and that’s why this is so important. If you know someone who BURNS WOOD, and their [sic] looking at a cold house this holiday season; maybe someone elderly or with small children in the house…then please help us help them,” Shane wrote.
“The Norms crew is standing by ready to help stack and deliver. Please remember it’s not for sale at any price. We get lots of offers. Too much blood and sweat to do that,” he added.
“So please….help me and my boys find the right homes that need heat and make sure NO ONE GOES COLD IN OUR HOOD this holiday season.”
Shane’s appeal went viral, racking up more than 14,000 reactions and 9,200 shares. Many also praised the McDaniels for their kind initiative.
“I live in the Deer Park, WA area and I’ve never heard of such an Amazing offer. This warms my heart that there are people helping people,” one user wrote.
Another commented: “Good people helping their neighbors. Bless you all.”
Surprisingly, some netizens also stepped up and offered to donate some wood.
“I have several 20 foot logs, located in the Getchell area, north of you. Can you come get them?” one wrote.
We are on komotv 4 tonight for our firewood drive. Check it out! Go lake!
Since then, the father and sons have been delivering wood to countless families in need.
One of the beneficiaries, Abby Valentine, who lives in Seattle, was grateful to the McDaniels for their warm act.
“My home is really old and very cold,” Valentine told The Washington Post. “With the help of the wood for my fireplace, we can cut back on using the heat. I try to save as much as I can, but if my home is way too cold I have to use it because I don’t want my kids getting sick.”
Thanks to Harry Smith and the NBC TODAY SHOW for spreading the love. It’s not often they visit Washington State. We…
As the word spread around, Shane, Henry, and Harrison were recognized for their kind act. The trio’s story got featured in numerous publications, such as The Washington Post, People Magazine, and a newspaper in India.
“It’s amazing to see because a lot of people out there don’t believe that good exists, and we’re showing that it still does,” Henry told King5 News.
The firewood mission kept homes in Washington warm; it also helped instill the spirit of giving in Henry and Harrison.
“It’s a pretty wonderful thing to see. You can just see this feeling of pride and sharing that I don’t think they had before,” Shane said.
For Shane, the best part about helping was to be able to have “little connections” with people.
“When you do good things for people, they don’t forget,” he said. “I love helping people.”
Shane hopes to carry on with his firewood mission the following year with the support of his sons and other volunteers.
Kudos to the McDaniels for the good work they’ve done for the community. The world needs more such people to spread kindness around.