You’ve probably met her in the carpool line. She was a regular, friendly face directing traffic every afternoon for many years, but if you never stopped to talk to Stacy Moody then you missed out on one of the warmest people you might ever meet. It’s that warmth and caring nature that recently helped her help a Neuse family in need.
Moody, an employee at Neuse Charter School since 2011, made friends with another Neuse parent, Karen Sheppard, when their sons were in the fifth grade together. The friendship blossomed over the years as both parents watched their children play soccer and baseball together. Today the boys are seniors at the school.
Sheppard, a single mom of three, juggled a part-time online teaching job and the schedules of life with a middle-schooler, high schooler and college freshman when a major health scare hit the family in 2016.
“Karen is battling cancer,” said Moody. “She was able to teach online until Hurricane Mathew came through and destroyed her home.”
Moody said the devastating hurricane that hit North Carolina in early October not only caused structural damage in Sheppard’s home, but also completely took out the heating and air conditioning unit.
“She had already spent months without heat and air due to previous flooding from a major storm,” Moody said.
Sheppard’s son stepped up to help the family, quitting sports in lieu of employment, but the teen’s salary only went so far and it didn’t cover a new HVAC unit.
Moody knew she had to help, but wasn’t sure what she could do until she saw an opportunity in late November.
“I was scrolling through Facebook and came across an ad from Allen Kelly and Company,” Moody explained. “It was titled ‘Warm Hearts and Warm Homes.’” Moody knew this was her chance to help her friend.
The contest sought to award a new HVAC unit along with $500 to a family in need. Moody submitted the on-line application along with an essay about Sheppard and her situation.
“I accidentally submitted the application before I was able to finish writing the whole story,” said Moody. But as miracles occur, Moody received a call on January 5 from a company representative interested in learning the rest of the story.
Moody shared the entire story with a panel that same day, including a reporter from WNCN TV. She was told a decision would be made the following day.
When her phone rang on January 6th, Moody heard, “You won a brand new HVAC system and install for Karen!”
Moody was elated and went to work with the company and TV station to surprise Sheppard on Monday, Jan. 16th.
Moody contacted the employer of Karen’s son, also a Neuse Charter School family, to ensure he could get off work for the surprise.
“Eric Brownlee is the owner of Golden Corral in Smithfield,” said Moody. “He ensured Karen’s son would have the day off and even offered to cater lunch for the surprise event.”
Sheppard was called over to Moody’s house for lunch that day, unaware of what was waiting for her. With flowers and check in-hand the Allen Kelly representative left Sheppard speechless and near tears.
The overall prize, valued between $4000-$9000 dependent on the extent of the work to be done, comes during one of the coldest months of the season and a time when the family needed it the most.
“The representative told Karen she was part of the Allen Kelly family now and that they would take care of her no matter what,” Moody added.
While Sheppard and her family will now enjoy a warm winter, it’s Moody’s actions and selflessness that will forever warm the hearts of those she touched that day.