Finishing the journey

A heartwarming story filled my social media feed over the weekend. The story of this young pig farmer would not leave my thoughts and it was too good not to share again. Last week at a county fair in Florida, a little boy’s pig sold for $170 per pound for a good reason — this young pig farmer lost his mother and only parent suddenly during the fair.

The community rallied around this young man and his family. On the night of the auction at the Hardee County Fair, no one expected Heath to drive his hog through the ring. His courageous spirit to actually drive the hog through the auction a day after his world came crashing down left me amazed, speechless and tearing up all at the same time.

Chills just ran down my spine as the community members describe that moment in the ring. “When he walked into the ring, there was complete silence because we were in such awe at this strength God put in this little boy to be able to come out the very next day in front of hundreds and hundreds of people,” says Janet Gilliarol, fair board director. “It got so quiet that even the swine that are usually squealing and making a lot of noise they were even quiet when it happened.”

Knowing the hard work Heath put into raising this pig, I have to admire him for finishing the journey that he and his mom traveled together — in my mind a silent tribute to her. God bless this young man.

As community members tell the story through the local media outlet, you quickly learn that Tamara adopted 11-year-old Heath as a baby, raising him on her own. Tamara was not only a mom but teacher in the county and active volunteer at the fair. She has helped raise hundreds of children and touched so many young kids’ lives in the community. Her love for children was evident as they tell her story.

There is no doubt that Tamara will be dearly missed. Like most small communities, the fair is normally time for a “family reunion” and great time to see friends you may not see every day.  While this week’s fair events may not have gone as plan, the whole event shows how small communities will rally around and provide the support for those in need in the form of a standing ovation, financial and community hug. Tonight join me in saying a special pray for Heath, Tamara’s entire family and the community.

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