SPRING LAKE, Mich. — If it were up to Noah and Jackson Dennie, this story wouldn’t be about them.
But, it is.
“With Jackson and I, it’s really sad and tragic and all that stuff, but like we’re not, I wanna say we’re not that special,” said Noah. “This happens too often to too many people and it’s too terrible.”
The humble West Michigan brothers are 21 and 17 years old but dealing with obstacles no one their age should face.
Earlier this month the boys lost their dad, Rick. Their mom, Pamela, passed away nine years ago.
It left the boys unexpectedly on their own and trying to navigate life.
“You’re not focused on the fact that my dad died yesterday or something like that,” said Noah. “It’s like, ‘Okay, there are $2,000 bills in front of me that I don’t have money for.’ SO you just start thinking and moving.”
Realizing those challenges, Noah’s former teacher David Theune soon stepped in and started a GoFundMe to raise some money for their immediate expenses, explaining the boys are “capable, smart young men, and they each have a bright future.”
In one week, the GoFundMe raised nearly $80,000.
“I know Spring Lake was a good town and everything, but I had no idea it would ever turn into this,” said Noah. “It’s like the most selfless --- I don’t know -- happy tears almost? It’s mind-boggling. It’s definitely restored my faith in raw humanity.”
The money will be used to cover expenses related to housing, clothing, food, education, etc.
Noah says it allows him and his brother to focus on things people their age should, like finishing school. Noah is a junior at Aquinas College majoring in philosophy with minors in French and English. He enjoys reading and spending time with his friends.
Noah is working toward gaining guardianship of Jackson.
Jackson is a junior at Spring Lake High School who, according to Noah, likes music, his friends, and skateboarding among other things.
Noah hopes this kindness inspires others to give back in their own ways.
“If people have like 10 bucks or something that they can put on a Subway card and give that to someone who doesn’t know where their next meal is going to come from, or an extra can of beans that they’re not going to eat, donate that stuff, honestly,” said Noah. “That helps, that helps people so much.”
He says that’s the story he’d rather hear.
“You just gotta keep moving forward really,” said Noah. “You don’t have the opportunity to stop unfortunately for a lot of people, so however you get there, you get there. Do it with love, and try to get a team behind you, and just look for resources.”
The GoFundMe is also still accepting donations.