Longbranch Couple Pay it Forward with Gifts of Free Firewood

Larry Henderson and his son Shane fire up the log splitter that he bought with the money he received from a Spark Grant through the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation.
Larry Henderson and his son Shane fire up the log splitter that he bought with the money he received from a Spark Grant through the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation.
Larry Henderson and his wife Anita started the Key Peninsula Firewood Bank four years ago from their home in Longbranch. Henderson said the goal of their program is to provide firewood to low-income seniors and veterans.
Larry Henderson and his wife Anita started the Key Peninsula Firewood Bank four years ago from their home in Longbranch. Henderson said the goal of their program is to provide firewood to low-income seniors and veterans. “The people in need,” he said.

Larry and Anita Henderson have been paying it forward.

Through the Key Peninsula Firewood Bank they have given low-income seniors, people with disabilities and veterans free firewood to heat their homes in the winter.

“It’s enjoyable because we just love giving back to the community,” Anita Henderson said. “We like to help out because people need it.”

The Longbranch couple are on their fourth season of giving.

Larry Henderson said they know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of this gift. A few winters ago they ran out of wood and asked a neighbor if he had wood to spare. He responded with a truck load of wood from his pile.

“It was such a wonderful gift. I was so blessed,” he said. “It came at such a time of need in the winter when we didn’t have any wood and didn’t have any money.”

Their neighbor’s generosity stuck with them.

When they overheard two ladies in church the next winter lamenting they had ran out of wood, they offered wood from their pile.

“They were so grateful,” he said, “and we thought ‘What a gift to give to people’.”

The next year Larry and his wife started the firewood bank. In exchange for a truck load of wood, they ask for a $15 donation to cover the cost of fuel.

Up until three weeks ago, Larry chopped wood with an ax. His wife says it is a laborious and back-breaking process..

Then the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation awarded a $1,500 Spark Grant to the Hendersons — just enough to cover the cost of a Club Cadet log splitter.

The hum of the splitter’s small engine is music to Larry’s ears as he begins another day of splitting wood — the dappled shadows of the morning sun filtering down to the dirt road below.    

“Our calling is to help the community,” Henderson said, and now he can do that without breaking his back.

Larry Henderson preps a round for the log splitter. They have given out more than 120 cords of wood since they started the program, he said, asking only for a $15 donation to cover the cost of fuel. Henderson delivers the wood himself in his old pickup truck.
Larry Henderson preps a round for the log splitter. They have given out more than 120 cords of wood since they started the program, he said, asking only for a $15 donation to cover the cost of fuel. Henderson delivers the wood himself in his old pickup truck.

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Watch the Hendersons with their new log splitter.

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