When the power went out in Don's house, he found a way to keep his family warm by walking several miles each day and picking up firewood from abandoned buildings in Detroit. When word caught on about Don's plight, the locals turned his small fire into a bright light.
Don, who asked that his last name be withheld, has been trekking miles through the snow each day looking for wood so that he and his four children could stay warm throughout the cold winter days and nights. The 53-year-old father was formerly employed as a butcher and commercial roofer, but recently lost his job and was unable to pay his utility bills.
A local news station took note of Don's efforts and brought his story into the spotlight on Wednesday. By Thursday afternoon, the community and one particularly generous Good Samaritan came together to give Don the money he needed to restore his power.
"An anonymous donor relieved the entire bill," Don tells the Good News blog. "I'm speechless."
Don says he owed around $5,000, yet that wasn't the only donation. FOX 2 Detroit notes there was an "outpouring" of support following the story's airing, and during our own conversation with him, a cyclist on the street approached Don and gave him $20, moving the needy father to tears.
"All I say to myself is that it's going to be alright and things are going to get better. I just can't stop," Don remarks. "Nothing comes to a sleeper, but a dream. If you don't do anything about your situation, you'll never achieve that point when you'll be successful… I've always been an individual who's been optimistic."
As inspiration, Don says his four children provide the encouragement he needs to tackle his obstacles. They range in age from 10 to 20, and while he admits they sometimes complain, he says they are learning about the world through their hardship.
"My thing is to prepare them for life," he comments. "They know there's no control over anything at this time, but they keep their noses to the grind."
Don says his goal is to regain the type of employment he's had in the past. He donates his plasma twice a week for money, but with the power soon restored, he will be able to dedicate his time to looking for work.
With life looking up, Don seems grateful he can dedicate his hours to getting things back in order, and being with his children.
"I guess I am a survivor," he remarks. "And I'm teaching my loved ones how to survive too."