The Lake Wylie Pilot recently introduced readers to Paul and Susan Hackney of Tega Cay and Amy Burton of Lake Wylie, all unemployed and looking for work. The Pilot will continue to update their progress and struggles every week until they find employment. For their stories, search "news" online at lakewyliepilot.com.
Amy Burton and her family had their sights set on a church mission trip this summer to Costa Rica.
On Nov. 7, those plans unraveled when Amy lost her job. A trip for four would have cost the Lake Wylie family about $6,000.
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Still wanting to help the mission in some way, the Burton's decided to chip in money to help a fellow New River Community Church member go on the trip.
As Amy continues to look for work, the family remains active in church activities -- even attending meetings about the mission trip.
A few weeks ago after church, an un expected phone call left Amy in "tears of joy for hours."
Another church member wanted to send Amy on the trip in her place -- and pay for it.
"She (Amy) started crying. She was extremely grateful," said the 44-year-old church member, who did not want to be identified. "Amy is such a positive influence on so many people's lives. She's an awesome woman."
Amy, 45, whose unemployment struggles have been profiled in the Lake Wylie Pilot the past six weeks, was overwhelmed by the gesture.
"I will never forget that phone call," said Amy, who lost her job in the research and development department at a home furnishing company. "I said, why did she pick me out of all the people from our church?
"My husband said, 'Amy, it's meant to be.'"
Amy will join up to 30 others from her church at the end of June in Costa Rica. The group will participate in construction, spend time with children at an orphanage and go on a church planting mission.
And, she won't be leaving her entire family behind. The family has decided to send oldest son, 18-year-old Johnny, on the trip as part of a graduation present from Clover High School.
"We are going to rely on God. We know God will provide the funds," said Amy, whose family has continued giving more than 10 percent of their gross income to church during her unemployment. "When you give, the joy that it gives you surpasses any other joy you could have."
On the job front, Amy said she has two meetings lined up this week.
"I haven't lost hope. There is a job out there for me somewhere when the time is right," Amy says.
Over at the Hackney household in Tega Cay, Paul and Susan Hackney -- both unemployed from their construction industry jobs since last year -- were busy week last week. Their story was initially featured four weeks ago in the Pilot.
Susan went back to school to finish needed hours for a real estate brokerage license. The classes continue this week.
Paul, who was laid off from his construction management position last year, spent time caring for his 7-month-old daughter, Lily.
Last week, Paul said, he networked with a father from his son's baseball team about possible positions in Charlotte with a global energy company.