News Show on Farm Youths Sows Seed for $1,000 Gift

--A Cincinnati man moved by the plight of struggling farmers sent a $1,000 check and a message of hope to an 11-year-old boy whose father is in danger of losing his farm. The unidentified donor known only as Herman asked the Des Moines Register to select a needy farm family after he watched a news program about the emotional suffering of rural youths. The newspaper selected Jarrod Taylor of Dickens, Iowa, who was surprised with the letter and check from Herman. Jarrod's family is more than $300,000 in debt and in danger of losing the third and last parcel of land to foreclosure. Jarrod's father, Roger, 39, is a diabetic and his mother, Kathy, 37, has kidney disease. Herman's letter told Jarrod not to give up hope. "You and your family must never, never, never give in to despair, discouragement and frustration no matter how bad things look," he wrote. "For every storm must pass. Christians have a saying: When you're flat on your back, look up!" Herman is a retired Internal Revenue Service employee who now helps with terminally ill cancer patients at a Cincinnati veterans hospital. "The Lord laid it on my heart to help someone," he told the newspaper. "I know $1,000 isn't going to cure anything, but it could give them hope . . . and keep them going." The Taylors say they will use the money to pay water and light bills and buy food.

--Mike LaMorgese took no chances with his daughter's wish for a white Christmas. "I usually buy Christmas presents for the family, but this year I ran out of ideas," said Mike, a partner in a Newark, N.J., construction firm. "I asked my daughter what she wanted and she said 'a white Christmas.' So I said, 'I tell you what, I'll promise you a white Christmas,' and she said 'how,' and I said 'I'll come up with an idea.' " He didn't trust forecasts that called for the more than one inch of snow the area eventually received. LaMorgese created his own winter wonderland with a snow-making machine he rented from a ski area operator. He drew water from the backyard pool for the snow. Soon, his lawn, ranch-style home, trees and shrubs in Short Hills, N.J., were heavily shrouded. Within hours, his 15-year-old daughter Kristin got her wish and learned never to doubt her father.

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