When David Henry, a Sweetser Elementary School teacher, was battling COVID-19 this spring, 7-year-old Selah Schible and 9-year-old Emma Smith prayed for him every day.

After his recovery, the two young girls decided they wanted to do something to show their support for the staff who cared for Henry at Marion General Hospital (MGH).

At their annual family trip to Fairmount Camp, Selah and Emma woke up each morning to bake fresh cookies and made lemonade to sell to other campers.

“We got the idea from Mr. Henry because he had COVID, and so we were like maybe MGH is struggling, so then we thought we would help them,” Emma said. “I learned that helping others makes me feel good and others.”

Selah said, “When you help, it makes other people feel good and makes us feel good, and when you do something, it just helps other people.”

On Tuesday afternoon, the girls presented MGH CEO Stephanie Hilton-Siebert with a check for $267.

“It’s so encouraging seeing our youth getting involved and giving back, and I think that’s just a testament to all of us that we can all help in some way,” said Hilton-Siebert. “Mr. Henry has become a very special person to us and in our hearts and then to see these young girls come together and see the impact that it’s making in the community is just overwhelming to see.”

Hilton-Siebert said she does not know exactly where the money will go, but it will likely be used on the COVID-19 unit.

Laura Schible, Selah’s mother, said because her family is a part of Henry’s church, they had a front-row seat to watch his story.

“There was a period of time that we were praying that he would come home, and they weren’t sure that was going to happen,” Schible said. “Our kids prayed for him throughout the day, several times a day, and to see God answer that miracle so closely has just been a faith builder for all of us.”

The generosity of the two girls brought Henry to tears, he said.

“That impact was so great that they would be following all the way through in August, months after everything was over. That just humbled me, and I felt like I am the most loved man in the county,” Henry said.

Henry said if he had a time machine and could go back and stop himself from catching COVID-19, he wouldn’t do it.

“There’s been so much more good that’s come out of my illness than bad,” he said. “I just get to talk about how good God is, and the quality of care I received and the quality of people, and I just think Grant County wrapped around my family in a way that I would have never dreamed.”

Before catching COVID-19, Henry said he did not understand his worth.

“The world wants to get you down and make you think you don’t matter, and you’re just plugging away doing your little life and minding your own business, and then all of a sudden, you realize you’ve impacted all these people,” Henry said. “That’s going to change me forever. I have a better understanding of my worth. Now the challenge is, how do I make sure other people know they have the same worth?”

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