September 11, 2021, Ridgebrook Village & Valley Hills West, Fort Wayne, IN
Ridgebrook is an enormous place loaded with great people! Impact Cares finally made it after a setback with a few sick team members but what a place it is. Impact Cares was able to have an impact, even if at times it seemed a small one, amidst such a large community. We ended up being able to have over 175 improvements made to 120 homes! Considering the fact that our volunteer numbers were only 26, this was a huge success. We had residents coming out to help, some local contractors and the local Impact staff. Let’s take a brief glimpse at some of what was accomplished and the lives that were impacted during out time there.
Flags, flags and more flags! We had one team of volunteers dedicated to install 93 flags during out time there. That’s a whole lot of red, white and blue flying in a community which helps to raise community pride and also brings a sense of ‘we-love-it-here’ to a community.
A word that seemed to characterize our time there was ‘Dignity,’ Dignity means, in part, ‘nobility or elevation of character.’ That is what was seen in a number of places during our visit in Fort Wayne.
Consider the story of one resident, struggling with cancer that was no longer able to negotiate the steps into her home. In order for her to get into her home, she would have to literally crawl up the steps in order to stand up again and enter her home. After being nominated by her neighbors, the team of Impact Cares came and built her a complete new deck with a ramp and rails so she was able to walk up the ramp into her home. It didn’t take a rocket-scientist to see that ‘nobility’ and an ‘elevation in character’ that had been given to this sweet lady simply by building a ramp and deck so she could walk into her home. Not only was her dignity restored but her community was elevated as well by one of its own being lifted up and shown respect.
Another related definition of dignity is ‘conduct indicative of self-respect.’ This would be a great way to describe the staff at Ridgebrook Village. If you happen to see Tom or Aaron, the maintenance techs, give them a ‘high-five’ for jobs well done! Together these two are part of a great team of people who not only do a great job but are willing to help out in many and varied ways. During our time there, these two guys were extremely helpful in helping us complete many improvements throughout the community. It is always great to be able to see and work with some of the great staff from Impact Communities as we travel around the country!
Dignity can also be seen as a ‘sign of respect.’ One of the residents Impact Cares ran across is a vet who has health issues and in a wheelchair but with no ramp into his home. Imagine having to crawl down your steps, get back into your chair in order to go somewhere and then do the same all over again in reverse when you get home. We were able to bless this vet by replacing a rotten deck and building a 38’ ramp so he could wheel in and out from his home. His family was the first to see the finished result and was overcome by emotion. ‘What is this?’ said the sister when she saw it. The inevitable next question was ‘Why?’ Well, as a sign of respect and for you and your brother to know that Jesus loves you! These responses make our work all worthwhile. It also reminds us all that it is in reaching out to help those in need that will bring the most joy to both the giver and the one receiving.
Go Impact Cares!
Russ Ooms on behalf of Impact Cares