Here is what your help taught me about humanity

To: Brittany Aldean

From: Michael Brockenshire (As told to Lauren Brill)

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Dear Brittany, 

You have 1.7 million followers on Instagram. Your husband, Jason Aldean, is a renowned country singer. I am just one of your husband’s millions of fans.

When I saw your post on Instagram back in April, I thought to myself, “No way. She’ll never actually respond.”

At the time, I didn’t have a ton of hope – not just on Instagram but in the world. 

It was early in the pandemic. I live in Blacksburg, Virginia, home of Virginia Tech, where the community thrives off the University. So, when schools switched to remote learning to protect people from COVID-19, the community hurt financially and emotionally. Like many places in America, people didn’t know what to do or how they could adapt. There was so much uncertainty, as the community felt somewhat deflated. 

I suffer from anxiety. When it gets bad, I start to tremor. Something as simple as signing a bill at a restaurant with people looking at me could throw me into a loop. Through the years, I have had to develop a variety of coping mechanisms to help me, including working out and spending time with friends and family. 

When the pandemic hit, I kept thinking to myself, “I can’t go out. I can’t see my family.”

Mike reached out to Brittany Aldean on Instagram and never expected to hear back

I usually go to Buffalo to visit my mom for Mother’s Day and I can’t see any of my family until next year. It’s horrible. 

Down and frustrated, I went on Instagram and saw your post offering assistance to people and communities. You said to let you know what we needed. 

At the time, I didn’t have a ton of hope – not just on Instagram but in the world. 

I thought, “This is cool.”

From diapers to all sorts of household items, there were a ton of requests. No way did I ever expect to hear from you. Even so, I told you our community could use some generosity. 

The very next morning, I got a message from you saying, “Hey, Mike, We’re willing to help. Just let us know what to do.”

 At the time, I worked for a grocery store. So,  I asked you to buy food for all 200 of our employees. Also, I asked you to donate art supplies to our local church for a group of children. 

You reached out to our local businesses and bought pizza, subs, salads and hoagies along with popcorn and candy for my co-workers and me. You called a local art store and bought supplies for the kids at my church.  It was amazing for all of us but especially for the children. Parents called the director at my church and expressed how much the kids enjoyed the art supplies.

You and Jason, a big music star, brought so much joy to our little community. And it was an incredible high for me to be a part of connecting you to the people here. My anxiety vanished for that week, as I was overwhelmed by the happiness you brought to all of us here in Blacksburg.

You re-energized us. And you showed me that a famous music star cares about our tiny, tiny community, proving that regardless of our differences, kindness can always connect us all.

Brittany, you didn’t just buy what I wanted. You gave me and my town the hope we all needed.

I am truly thankful,

Michael Brockenshire
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