Police chief’s acts of kindness spread throughout community

Submitted photo/Samuel Townsend
Townsend helps residents set out hay bales to feed their cattle.
Submitted photo/Samuel Townsend Townsend helps residents set out hay bales to feed their cattle.

GOODMAN -- Last week's weather proved challenging for many residents, as many of their vehicles and farming equipment were affected by the cold. On Tuesday, Jan. 9, police chief Samuel Townsend posted a message on Facebook offering to help anyone who needed a vehicle "jumpstarted" or to have hay bales moved.

Forty-eight people would reach out for his help. According to Townsend, acts of kindness are "contagious," and taking time to help one's neighbors can impact the community.

Townsend said he can remember his family's 1950s Jubilee tractor having trouble starting due to the cold weather. Some residents would lend themselves and help his family.

"Ronnie Rogers had put out hay for me when my tractor wouldn't start. And probably two years before that, Jerod and Heith Lewis would say, 'If your tractor doesn't start, we'll put out hay for you.'"

Another resident, Travis Hall, helped Townsend five years ago.

These acts of kindness prompted him to "give back to the people" and post a message on Facebook offering to help anyone in need.

His post read, "If any Newton and McDonald County cattlemen cannot get their tractors to start, send me a message, and I'll come drop a bale for you," said Townsend. "Other cattlemen have done this for me. I'm just returning the favor."

"I did not expect it to blow up that much. I expected maybe to help five or six people that were close by," said Townsend. "But then it was shared 200 times, all the way from Longview to Southwest City."

Forty-eight residents would reach out and ask for Townsend's help.

"Different people were messaging me, saying, 'Hey, my tractor won't start, can you come help me?' Or 'the ice needs [to be] broken in my pond.'"

The response from residents forced him to strategize and group all the requests based on the cities in which they were located.

Other residents were following his example and helped their neighbors.

"Several other people were like, 'Because Townsend helped me, if anyone else needs their tractor started or hay put out. I'll go drop them a bale,'" said Townsend.

It took him two days to complete his task, but he said it was worth the effort.

"Kindness is almost contagious. So many people were good to me, so I'm being good to them. And that kindness spread very fast."