Shane McDaniel and his twin sons Henry and Harrison have cut enough firewood to fill 80 trucks — and are delivering it to families in need of heat
When 47-year-old Shane McDaniel, of Lake Stevens, Washington, began cutting firewood back in March, he never imagined his efforts would mark the beginning of a months-long good deed.
“The Pacific Northwest is a pretty rugged area, it’s cold and wet. Once I started, I saw the need and my eyes were opened up,” McDaniel tells PEOPLE. “So many people were stopping and asking to buy it and we just started giving it away.”
McDaniel initially began chopping the wood as a way to feel connected to his late father, with whom he often cut wood as a kid. He carried on the tradition with his twin sons, Henry and Harrison, both 21.
As the wood began piling up around their home over the months, McDaniel decided to put it to good use. The trio decided to give the wood away to families in need of heat.
“I had a lot of wood I had to cut because of storm damage and trees that were taken down. It just kept piling up and piling up,” McDaniel recalled. “Once it got to be such an amount of wood we decided we could do something better with it.”
From March to October, the trio cut enough firewood to fill 80 trucks. In November, McDaniel explained his efforts on Facebook, encouraging anyone in need of firewood to send him a message. The post has since been shared more than 9,200 times.
“If you know someone who BURNS WOOD, and [they’re] looking at a cold house this holiday season; maybe someone elderly or with small children in the house…then please help us help them,” McDaniel wrote in the post.
“My boys and I have cut & split nearly 40 cords of firewood this summer,” the father added. “It is seasoned and ready to warm homes where it is truly needed. It is more firewood than most people have ever seen, as I’m sure anyone who has driven past my house has noticed.”
Since then, McDaniel says he and his sons have delivered wood to several homes — so many that the family has lost count. The doting father of six says the kind act has even sparked a change in his sons.
“It’s a pretty wonderful thing to see. You can just see this feeling of pride and sharing that I don’t think they had before,” McDaniel tells PEOPLE.
But the McDaniels aren’t the only ones getting something out of the good deed. Abby Valentine, 42, was one of the first people to respond to McDaniel’s post. And his offer couldn’t have come at a better time, as temperatures in Lake Stevens dropped into the 20s as early as November, according to the Washington Post.
“My home is really old and very cold,” Valentine, who lives in Seattle, told the Post. “With the help of the wood for my fireplace, we can cut back on using the heat. I try to save as much as I can, but if my home is way too cold I have to use it because I don’t want my kids getting sick.”
For McDaniel, the best part of his story has been the “little connections” he’s made with people.
“When you do good things for people, they don’t forget,” he tells PEOPLE. “I love helping people. It’s the strangers that you’ve helped.”
Now, McDaniel says he plans to do it all again next year, alongside his sons and with the help of volunteers.