MONMOUTH, Illinois — What seemed like a normal day at the Save-A-Lot grocery store in Monmouth was anything but, for owner, Darren DeJaynes. Little did he know, his friend, Russell "Rusty" Gillam had a surprise up his sleeve.
"Russel thank you so much for nominating Darren for Pay it Forward. At Ascentra we really believe in helping the community. And he really exemplifies the listening, caring and doing what's right spirit that we stand for. That’s why we want to give you $300 so that you can pay it forward to Darren," said Travis Kershaw, who works at Ascentra Credit Union.
"Being his friend, owner of Save-A-Lot here in Monmouth, all the donations, contributions you give to this community... Whether it be Roseville Helping Hands, Jameson Center Food Pantry, Strom Center, Freezing for Humanity, Backpack for Kids, I can't name 'em all," said Gillam. "But as a friend, on behalf of Acentra Credit Union and WQAD-TV we'd like to present you with $300 to Pay It Forward, my friend, thank you."
DeJaynes has lived in Monmouth for nine years; he's owned the Save-A-Lot, at 200 N Main Street, ever since.
"I am shocked, I am really shocked. I'm thinking of an organization I'd give it to," said DeJaynes, just moments after receiving the money. He was already planning the good he could do with it. "I am just fortunate, I got great customers, great employees. They’re family."
DeJaynes says he wants to give the $300 he received to Wiar, the Western Illinois Animal Rescue just a 3 minute drive down the road from Save-A-Lot.
"I get a lot of feedback from people saying thank you. So, that's what we're here for, we're a small town grocery store and we're just fortunate we can do it," said DeJaynes.
Rusty Gillam and DeJaynes have been friends for nearly nine years.
"We’ve been good buddies for nine years so just, just all around good friend," said DeJaynes.
Gillam nominated DeJaynes because he constantly donates food, meat to various charities. Just recently, DeJaynes donated more than a thousand dollars worth of steaks to the Special Olympics.
"Felt nice, felt nice to pay him back. I mean, to pay him back for what he does for this community," said Gillim.
Watch here as DeJaynes pays it forward to the Wiar (Western Illinois Animal Rescue)