‘Party with a Purpose’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Beth Chapman/Guest Columnist

Sometimes there are stories that spontaneously occur – those random acts of kindness that are seldom heard today compared to the past.

And sometimes they come in the form of people society least expects them to – children.

This was the case with 8-year-old William Tidwell, whose father Mike is an employee of the Alabama Farmers Federation.

As part of a Partnership for Peace Trip I took with Adj. Gen. Mark Bowen and members of the Alabama National Guard representing our state, many of us collected school supplies, toys and toiletry items for the House of Hope.

The House of Hope is an orphanage in Romania which has been one of many humanitarian projects taken on by Alabama’s National Guard.

Every child in the orphanage suffers from AIDS through obviously no fault of their own.

In Romania, when a child is born with or contracts AIDS, they are abandoned by their families – literally.

It is a tragic situation, one unfathomable to most of us as parents.

When young William Tidwell learned through a speech I was giving that I was collecting the supplies he – of his own accord – created a “Party with a Purpose.”

It was his own birthday party that he would forego to help the orphans in Romania.

It was his own gifts that he would sacrifice so the orphans could have them.

Talk about a random, selfless act of kindness and love. Most adults wouldn’t do that, much less an 8-year-old little boy.

What a great world we would live in if there were more young William Tidwells?

Oh, that we as adults could learn to love and give as children do.

What William and his friends gave to those orphans besides school supplies, stuffed animals, baseballs and footballs was a lesson in love and compassion.

What he gave us all was a lesson in truly selfless love and a poignant reminder of the golden rule.

For this reason, I’m proud to know William Tidwell.

He is the son of Mike and Beth Tidwell and the brother of Paula Tidwell.

Beth Chapman serves as state auditor in Alabama. She lives with her family in North Shelby County