I live in Joseph City.

It’s small, and when I say “small” I mean that I was part of one of the biggest graduating classes of Joseph City Junior/Senior High School and I ranked #3 (or 4? Whatever. I didn’t get a cool title to slap on a resume) of 43.
It’s a sort of joke to people who have passed through, and we chuckle along when they say “Joe City? Don’t blink or you’ll miss it!”
Har, har.

The fact is: our town was built on courage, faith, and devotion. The settlers’ devotion to this dusty area knows NO bounds. Our community was one of four settled in this area, and it is the only one to have survived -thrived, even. We’ve built on their foundations of courage, faith, and devotion. Over the years, we’ve added beams of love, loyalty, and support. Our community is bound by strong threads of friendship, and we can pull together in a matter of hours.

We can count on each other, and you can’t really say that about anything anymore -we know the value of hard work, tears, and hard work. We’ve seen each other through struggles the likes of which we wish we hadn’t seen.
Our children have been known to leave us early.
Our senior citizens have been known to forget us, though we fight to never forget them.
Our mothers have been in accidents.
Our fathers have lost their jobs.
There have been miscarriages, births of twins, divorces, marriages, sorrows and celebrations. Through it all, we’ve all been there.

Word travels fast in a small town -even faster now, thanks to facebook and cell phones. It’s almost true that we don’t have to follow the ambulances that fly through town because we know all we have to do is refresh our facebook homepage until we find out WHERE that ambulance was going and WHY and WHO was going to be the recipient of a casserole that very night.

It’s true.

Word about Austin Bushman traveled faster than the speed of lightening.

One of our high school boys was on his way to the hospital because he was having trouble breathing. Before he could even make it out of town, he had a severe asthma attack.
As a child, my mother had told me several times if ever I was walking on the street and had someone follow me or chase me or make me feel uncomfortable, it was okay to run into the nearest house without knocking.
“Just tell them who your mom is,” she would say.

Everybody knows everybody.
That’s why Austin’s mother was able to take him straight to Dev’s house. Dev was one of the first on-scene when I went unexpectedly into labor a month early with my son. I can say with firm certainty that I felt safer with her than I did with the nurses in the hospital. Dev would have caught my child. The nurses begged me to hold that baby in so they wouldn’t have to.
But I knew my son would be safe with Dev.
Jennifer knew her son, Austin, would be safe with Dev.

Using the training she has worked so tirelessly to obtain, Dev saved Austin’s life. They were able to get him to the hospital in the city in a helicopter, and there he remains today. Since then, Austin has had more close calls than any high school boy should ever have. In the meantime, virtually the entire town has been on bended knee.

We know we are not helpless.

Recent town research has brought to light a simple fact: GREY is the color of asthma awareness. Our children have been wearing grey wherever they might be: in school, at college, at home… and it’s got me thinking we ought to make grey t-shirts for everyone that say:
Austin: the boy who brought an entire town to their knees in just one {asthma} attack.
Wouldn’t it look great printed on top of the silhouette of a ninja? A ninja with a cowboy hat on?

Okay, so maybe my ideas aren’t the greatest which is why I have a great husband who DOES have amazing ideas. He texted me a few days ago asking if we might be able to put on a benefit dinner for Austin. I texted some of Austin’s family (see? cell phones!), and we now have it in the works.

A few phone calls later, I had a date and place fixed. AS I WAS TYPING THE INFORMATION about the benefit into my facebook status, my cell phone rang.
It was someone in town calling to offer up a donation for the dinner they’d heard rumor of.
It turns out word still travels faster than the speed of lightening in small towns even WITHOUT the help of facebook. It made me grin from ear to ear.

At this point, I should be posting the copy of a cool-looking flyer, embellished with pictures, dates, times, and all manner of merriment. But you all know how “awesome” I am at cool-looking anything.
So, um, flyer to come.
Just as soon as I find someone with photoshop skills. And photoshop, for that matter.

Austin’s Auction and Benefit Dinner will be held at the firehouse from 4-7 pm on the second Saturday in November -the 12th.
Any help or donations you can contribute will be put to use! Pull out your sewing machines! Your crochet hooks! Your wood working skills! Your gift certificates! Your skills! Your pocketbooks!
I’m going to be stitching up a handmade sock monkey for your auctioning pleasure.
Austin needs our help, and as I said before: We know we are not helpless.

Please spread the word any way you can, whether you know Austin or not. Feel free to link up to this post.


  1. Alicia, you are awesome. Thank you so much for putting this together!

  2. I love this town. And you’re so awesome for putting it together! I wish I was closer to help out with it! Actually, if you don’t have someone to put together a flyer yet (and if you really want one) let me know. I’ll throw something together! I could do that from Utah. :)

  3. jodi thompson says:

    Thank you sooo much. I am austins aunt. Thank you so much for putting this together. Our family appreciates it. Austin is a fighter!! Keep the prayers going he needs them. God bless u all! Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help with the dinner.

  4. Okay, between this post and the one about your neighbor that showed up to save you, you’ve got me bawling tonight. We’re not even going through anything (this week… last week was a slightly different story) and it makes me so homesick. There are advanatages to getting “out of dodge” and having restaurant choices and new things to see and do, but it can sure be lonely sometimes. What a lucky boy to live in Joe City! Sending a few prayers from Virginia…

  5. Don’t ya just love Joe City!

    Thanks for doing this. You are a sweetheart!

    Count on us for some home-made items etc.

  6. Heidi Hunsaker says:

    Thank you so much for posting all of this, even though I am not part of the family, in a small town like Joseph City it is easy for anyone to see that here we are all family. I am praying for Austin fervently and I know my prayers are getting through and I know angels above and here on Earth are looking out for Austin!

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