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Communities rally to lend a hand as we face a new reality

Apr 09, 2020 10:33AM ● By James Davis

The world is perhaps united in a common cause; slowing the spread of COVID-19.

And while governments scramble to organize a response and the United States government passes more than $2 trillion in stimulus packages to assist its people and buoy a stumbling economy, communities find a way to stand together, while staying apart.

While governments can be of great service in times of trial, the glue that holds communities together is of thicker things. Countless acts of kindness, often unseen helping hands, and concern for neighbors you may not even know.

While facing a new reality unthought of a few months ago, in the words of Dr. Seuss, “a person’s a person, no matter how small.” Individuals, businesses, and neighborhoods are standing together while staying apart, helping where they can.

It is a thought that may have crossed Spanish Fork resident James Sparks’ mind as he considered a course forward. One of the owners of Ameritrue Heating and Air, he considered ways the team of Ameritrue might be of service after disruption of a familiar routine.

Before COVID-19, the Ameritrue crew met every Thursday at Denny’s in Spanish Fork for a breakfast meeting. With the virus disrupting everything once considered normal life, the meetings no longer take place, but he wondered about the people who work there.

He said they were always greeted by a friendly server who provided excellent service, and he wondered what has become of her.

“She was fantastic, and we always gave her a good tip, but she’s probably not getting tips anymore,” Sparks said.

Not knowing if she was still at work or what became of her, he knew she was not the only one facing a difficult and uncertain future and wondered what they could do to lend a helping hand.

Sparks, with his partners; his wife, Pam; Clint Garner; and Pete Mittanck had decided to suspend the company’s heating and air conditioning “clean and tunes” until the virus had run its course. While he said the small business of six employees has not seen a significant impact from the virus, with the clean and tune service suspended, they had four service vans and more time on their hands than normal.

That’s when they decided a service they could provide was delivering essentials to people in the community who may be struggling.

“We were looking for a way to keep our guys busy and wondering what we could do to help,” Sparks said.

So, the Ameritrue team has decided to use their vans and crew to help where help they can. They have created service bags they can deliver to homes in need in the community, filled with essential foodstuffs those struggling might find in short supply.

“It’s not steak,” he said with a laugh.

Instead the bags are filled with nonperishable items; canned fruit and vegetables and meats, pasta, and other items.

When considering what might be best to put in the bags, Sparks said he thought back to when his six adult children were living at home. The items he and his wife always tried to keep on hand is what they put in the bags.

Sparks said they will continue to offer the service “until we go bankrupt or things get better.”

If you or someone you know is in need, you can contact Ameritrue at 801-855-5820.

As for the future, Sparks indicated he is hopeful, but realistic. He thinks the state of Utah will be fine but worries about other places. If the impact to communities and the economy are short-lived after the coronavirus runs its course, then all will be well.

“That would be wonderful,” he said. “But I’m sure they felt that way in 1929.”

Until things return to normal, the Ameritrue team, like countless others in the community, will continue searching for ways to stand together, while staying apart. (Davis is the editor of Serve Daily.)