Two women connected by a desire to help others reunited on Christmas Eve to get their hands dirty — literally.
Amanda Heinlein's Azusa home has been punished by mudslides every time rain falls in Southern California — the piles of rocks and mud nearly 6 feet tall.
But help arrived Wednesday morning when Marine Cpl. Priscilla Taylor called to help dig the home out of the dirt.
"She called and said, 'You know, it's Christmas Eve, I have the day off, and I'd like to come and see what I can do to help,'" Heinlein said.
Heinlein and Taylor met earlier this year after Heinlein signed up for the Adopt A Soldier program. Heinlein sent monthly care packages to Taylor, a single mother, and even saw her off when she was deployed to Afghanistan around March.
While Taylor was deployed, the pair corresponded often, and Heinlein went above and beyond her own call of duty.
"She would take my son on play dates with her while I was gone," Taylor said. "It's just the little things she did that really meant a lot to me ... A person like that is very rare to find, so I'm very blessed to have her in my life."
The pair had only met twice before Wednesday — once during Taylor's deployment, and once during her return. Taylor, now based in Camp Pendleton, rolled up her sleeves to return the favor on Christmas Eve morning.
"I just thought, this is your time, this is your freedom and you just got back and you can do whatever you want and you've chose to come here and help me," Heinlein said. "How can you be any more of a servant?"