Ray Laymon - Rebuilding Hope
When natural disasters strike volunteers stand alongside first responders to save lives and assist in recovery efforts.
On this week's 'Pay it Forward' a man honors his friend's heroic efforts in the aftermath of devastating tornadoes.
Our story begins in Hixson where we meet Ronald DeJong.
Ronald says, "I nominated Ray Laymon. I met him when I was volunteering for disaster relief after the Harrison tornado. And, after working with him for about five months, I realized that he was also working on the Apison tornado. He spent over a thousand hours working down there."
Ray Laymon would then take his chainsaws to help in storm-ravaged Oklahoma and then to Adairsville, Georgia.
"He has never asked for anything. Never. He will go out and he will help people and he will have a smile on his face. He will say thank you and he will leave," Ronald says.
We know we must leave quickly to catch Ray at a nearby work site.
Ronald and I arrive to the home right on time.
A surprised Ray turns to the sound of a familiar and friendly voice.
Without flinching Ronald holds out his hand and says, "On behalf of McMahan Law Firm and Channel 9 News I'm here to 'Pay it Forward' to you."
"What for?" Ray wonders.
Smiling, Ronald says to him, "You have been so gracious to all of us around you with tornado relief..."
"You've gotta be kidding me, " Ray exclaims.
"Let me 'Pay you Forward', Ronald says. One hundred, $200, $300, $400, $500."
Ray is visibly moved by the act of kindness.
"You've done so much for everybody all around the country," Ronald tells him.
Ray thanks Ronald and says, "Well, I just wish we could do more. "I don't know what to say. I'm just overwhelmed, really. I'll put it back. I'll buy another chain saw. I'll put it back into gear."
I ask Ray why he gives of himself so selflessly.
Without hesitation Ray says, "I believe the Lord gives us all different gifts and we need to give back."
And, Ray has no plans to stop giving his hands and his heart to those in need.
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