By Jill Penley
When Ronnie Hess moved to Johnson County, he brought his sense of volunteerism and compassion along, and after being here some time, he has not only recognized some glaring needs in the communities that make up the county, but also the lack of coordination of available services and resources.
“There are generous folks all around,” said Hess. “They just don’t know who needs help and how to go about doing it.” That’s where Hess comes in. Hess, who once drove a truck hauling explosives and chemicals, now considers himself a “picker” who now spends most days either accepting donations for auctions and flea markets or selling his treasures to donate the proceeds to local charities and families in need.
“The Lord has blessed me,” said Hess, “and I love trying to be a blessing to others.” The process, as he explains it, is simple. “People donate items, and I set up at auctions, flea markets, and sales so I can share the rewards and meet new
For the past several years, Hess has helped the Tri-State Children’s Home and the Haven of Rest Rescue Mission, both in Bristol, Tennessee, by volunteering and donating the money he makes from selling various items donated. “When it comes to helping people,” explains Hess, “it is really true that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
Hess, who has always enjoyed talking to people, has an eye for spotting something of value. He once purchased a storage locker that contained a chest stuffed with audiotapes belonging to a Capt. J.H. Caldwell. Hess made it his personal mission to locate the family that the chest belonged to, in case the tapes contained sentimental value.
He has accepted appliances, auto parts, pool tables, furniture, electronics, and even an electric wheelchair. “If I have an item that would be helpful to someone,” said Hess, “I just give it to them and explain it was made possible by the generosity of loving neighbors; otherwise, I sell what I can and use the proceeds to help who and where I can.”
The spirit of benevolence will remain alive and well in Johnson County as long as “Ronnie Dale” is here.