Hody Childress was one for secrets. Nobody but his wife knew he was in cahoots with a local pharmacy. From 2012 until his death in January, Childress hatched up acts of kindness with the pharmacy owner, Brooke Walker. It wasn’t until Childress was homebound with sickness that he spilled the beans.
He admitted to his daughter, Tania Nix, “I’ve been giving a $100 bill to the drug store at the first of the month. I gave Brooke permission to use it however she feels it could help somebody.”
Childress learned that sometimes people are unable to afford their prescriptions. He donated almost $12,000 over the years to ensure people in his community could buy the medicine they need. He told Walker, “Do not tell a soul that money came from me. If they ask, just tell them it’s a blessing from the Lord.”
Raised in a State of Grace
Childress grew up in Geraldine, Alabama. Three generations in his family have farmed. They’ve raised cattle, grown soy beans and corn, and gardened fresh veggies and fruit. (Childress was famous for sharing tomatoes and strawberries with neighbors.)
The Childress family consistently attended church. Hody Childress was the oldest of four siblings, and he came to know the Lord at age 10.
Childress was steadfast over the years. He read his Bible daily, taught Sunday School, and “prayed constantly.”
His daughter says when Childress entered hospice care, “He prayed for everybody in the family—called their names out. Long prayers. He prayed for my husband 30 minutes.”
Blessings and Losses
Childress met his first wife, Peggy, in her brother’s watch shop when the two were in high school. They married when he was 21 and she was 19.
In 1973, Childress lost his seven-year-old son and his father in a tornado. His mom and younger brother came to live with him due to injuries they suffered.
Nix notes that her father had “a very hard life.” But she quickly adds, “My dad was always positive.”
Peggy Childress developed multiple sclerosis (MS), and Childress was her primary caregiver. She was in a wheelchair for many years. On Friday nights, Childress carried her into the high school stadium stands so she could watch local football games with him. She died in 1999.
Childress remarried in 2000. Martha Jo was an old high school friend, and they enjoyed more than 20 years together.
A Giving Life
While Childress served in the Air Force for eight years, he worked extra jobs so he could send money home to his parents.
He later became a project manager at Lockheed Martin, an aerospace company. He earned awards for going above and beyond the call of duty.
Childress also loved to send letters of encouragement to people. An employee at a local rest home told his daughter, “You would not believe how many cards your dad sent.”
After he died, Nix learned about her father’s gifts to the drug store—and the huge impact his generosity had. Pharmacist Walker says, “There are so many people in Geraldine who have lived longer because of Hody.”
Nix sums up her father’s life of stewardship, saying, “I really feel like his mission was to be the hands and feet of the Lord. He wanted to be a servant. He wanted to serve the Lord and other people.”
Give and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. — Luke 6:38
Why? As imitators of Christ, believers can model the kind of generosity Jesus urged. Jesus said, “When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” (Matthew 6:3)
Makes me want to do that to make others happy!!!