Pay It Forward: Serving others from Clinton to Cambodia

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From serving food in their local Clinton, Iowa community, to helping children in Cambodia one couple is giving back to strangers while only asking for a smile in return.

The power couple is Linn and Gary Houzenga. They make it their mission to serve people in the community.

For over 15 years, the Houzenga’s have been feeding families from all walks of life every Wednesday here at The Church of the Open Door in Clinton.

The pair also go on yearly medical mission trips to help orphans in Cambodia.

“It makes me feel good, especially when they hug you,” said Linn.

But the Houzenga’s have their own battles. Linn was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. The Houzenga’s have had a long and trying year in and out of doctor’s offices and surgery but they’ve always put other’s needs before their own. Linn says her faith keeps her going.

“I feel humbled because it’s not us, it’s our heart for the community but the strength comes from the lord,” added Linn.

Their selfless acts are what inspired Shirley Patey, a member of the church, to nominate the Houzenga’s for a Pay It Forward award.

“It’s just been amazing they have not missed a beat and Linn has been here serving everyday she could. The only day Gary missed is when she had surgery,” recalled Patey.

The Houzenga’s were awarded $300 from WQAD and Ascentra Credit Union to pay it forward.

“This money will go into the community for food,” said Linn.

Gary leaves this month for another mission trip in Cambodia. Linn is staying behind because of her health but will continue working in the church.

If you know of someone doing great things in the community, nominate them for a pay it forward award here.