(MARYVILLE, Mo.) Red roses decorate the plywood covering the scene where Morgan McCoy lost her life -- a small act of kindness given from a man that had very little to give himself.
Kelley Baldwin was driving by the Post Office when she saw a man in old clothing, pushing a broken bicycle, place roses at the boarded entrance of The Palms bar in Maryville.
“As we were passing the Palms, there was a makeshift memorial there for Morgan McCoy. He had a bunch of red flowers in his hand, and walked up to the front of the Palms and he stuck those roses right into the board, as I was driving by. And I thought that was the sweetest thing for someone to do,especially for someone who looks like he doesn’t have a lot to share or to give,” Baldwin said.
Arnold Roebkes’ small act of kindness inspired Baldwin to go home and write about what she had witnessed.
“As soon as I saw what he had done, the words starting coming into my head. I had to put this on Facebook. Because last week and really the last couple weeks in general have been really hard time for Maryville and Nodaway County. We’ve lost some really sweet souls. Everybody is sad and everybody gives their thoughts and their prayers;and that is wonderful, but sometimes we need to do something more, something more tangible,” Baldwin said.
Unknown to Roebkes, his small act of kindness for those mourning McCoy would come back to him ten-fold.
Roebkes is known around Maryville by several people and by many names, "Mr. Bicycle Man", "Arnie" and the "Gentle Giant", but very few people know the hardships in his daily life.
“My sister got killed years ago, she was beat to death and I felt sorry for the girl and all that,” Roebkes said.
He has very little family that is still living and struggles to support himself financially.
Shortly after reading Baldwins story, Emily Tobin took to action, creating a You Care page to help raise funds to help meet Roebkes’ basic needs.
The Maryville community came together to raise funds to help Roebkes get food, furniture and money to help pay back bills; with the You Care page reaching over $3,400, within the first day.
While Roebkes has his own apartment and works as a handyman around town, he doesn’t always have enough money for everything he needs.
“He loves doing odd jobs for people, he’s not one to just take a handout. He like to work for it, he’s a very good guy,” Tobins said.
Volunteer spent Sunday cleaning Roebkes’ apartment and helping Arnie get ready for the arrival of donated furniture.
“We’ve going to help Arnie get some of the things he needs in his life. Maybe get some glasses, go to the dentist, get a haircut, get some warm boots. Making sure it goes to Arnie and what he needs,”Tobin said.
The group of volunteers are hoping to take something positive out of the tragic loss of Morgan McCoy.
“I didn't need to be on the road that day. I could have gone to the Post Office earlier in the morning or in the afternoon. I drove by in the exact time that I needed to be there to see that gesture. And I really do think that it was Morgan, [who] probably put me on the street that day, that I was going to see what Arnie was going to do.I think it was a way of her maybe sending a message to continue the kindness that she showed in her life,” Baldwin said.
That overwhelming kindness from people in the community is now making a huge impact in the life of one Maryville man.
“Thank you for everything everybody did for me. I pray for the girl that got killed at the Palms,” Roebkes said.
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