A Moving Story
Scott and Amy Graham of Cokato, Minn., own a moving company that they use to help The Salvation Army do good.
They support The Salvation Army because they know what it’s like to fall on hard times. In 2012, Scott’s son from a previous marriage, Brady, then 8 years old, was diagnosed with leukemia. Scott and Amy could not afford Brady’s medical bills because they were already struggling financially due to the Great Recession.
“Our credit cards were maxed out and we were almost bankrupt,” recalled Scott, who at the time was working in trucking construction. “We could barely afford to go to the hospital to spend time with Brady.”
After a hard-fought year of chemotherapy, Brady died in 2013. Not a day goes by that Scott and Amy don’t think about him.
“He would have graduated high school last spring,” Scott said. “It’s been a very tough year.”
While the loss of Brady will always be painful, something good came from it: Scott and Amy learned the importance of accepting help from others, never giving up, and always giving back.
These lessons started when Scott and Amy were in financial dire straits. Rather than bow to bankruptcy, the pair fought back by buying an inexpensive trailer to start a small moving company.
“We were doing anything we could to make an extra dollar to pay our bills – it was do or die,” said Scott, adding that the moving company started doing well after only six months.
They learned to accept help from others when the nearby Howard Lake Fire Department and St. James School offered to host a community fundraiser to ease Scott and Amy’s financial burden. Hundreds of people contributed.
“We couldn’t believe the generosity,” said Scott, who’d volunteered for the Howard Lake Fire Department for 20 years. “Our community stepped up and helped us big time.”
The fundraisers went on to pay for Brady’s medical expenses that Scott and Amy couldn’t afford, and Brady’s funeral after he died.
Although Scott and Amy could have kept the remaining fundraising dollars, they chose to split the money between the Howard Lake Fire Department; St. James School; Brady’s favorite teacher as she, too, battled cancer; and a Children's Hospital worker nicknamed “The Dude” who provided daily entertainment for Brady and other young patients.
Today, Scott and Amy’s little moving company is not so little anymore. The company – Graham Moving – includes an entire fleet of moving vehicles, trailers, and employees.
The couple uses their company to help others in their community, including people served by The Salvation Army. This year alone, Scott helped three formerly homeless families move into housing units managed by The Salvation Army.
“The moves were logistical nightmares that also involved storing items for several days,” said Alisa Ledoux, a Salvation Army case manager who serves residents of Wright County. “Scott went out of his way to make it happen, and he was happy to do it. We are so grateful.”
Scott provided these services at a highly discounted rate, saving The Salvation Army thousands of dollars. These savings have allowed Alisa to help more families who are going through the same kinds of tough times that Scott and Amy once did.
“We know what it’s like to be down on your luck,” Scott said. “Going through everything we did taught us to be better people. Now that we can afford to help, we love to give back whenever we can.”
Scott and Amy Graham are just one example of business owners and everyday people who use their resources to help others – and you can, too. Make a difference right now by donating or signing up to volunteer.