We hurried back to Dr. Dutter’s house, our spirits lifted, to set up the industrial sump pump. I spent the rest of the day wading into dirty water, setting up the pump, and bailing water with a five-gallon bucket to save the house of a man I see once every six months. As darkness fell, my dad (unable to help much himself because of a bad back) returned to see how things were going. Dr. Dutter began praising me and thanking us for our help, telling my dad how much help I had been and how impressed he was with me. It was embarrassing to hear him say all that in front of me. I could only think that I had done what anyone would have in the same situation, and I still think that. I was just happy to help him and be a good neighbor. His house was safe from flooding, at least until the next hurricane season, and I felt a great sense of pride and accomplishment to have been a part that. Not too much later a thank you note came to me in the mail with a gift certificate to a sporting-goods store. The note was nice, and I was glad to hear he decided to buy flood insurance for next year, but I was almost ashamed to take the gift card. My decision to help him was not based on the assumption of compensation. I did it only because I knew he needed my help and it was the right thing to do. Of course, I dared not insult him by refusing the gift. I managed to put it to good use. When I think about that day, I always remember how grateful he was for my help, and how surprised he seemed to be that a teenager would spend his day off from school to help him bail water and chase down a sump pump and a hose. That memory of helping someone who needed and appreciated it so much is a reward that will last my entire life and remind me forever how fulfilling it is to come together and accomplish something meaningful.