Sunnyside, Ishpeming, MI, July 24, 2021
A great community, great people and surely most of the time, great weather! This project traversed both ends of the spectrum, from welcoming people in the community to not being able to obtain building permits just to build some new decks. With those things in mind, we ended up doing more painting than usual which made a lot of residents smile!
This project proved to be a great gathering of various staff people. We had several district managers, a couple of regional vice presidents and one amazing community manager with her maintenance technician, both of whom were at the top of their game! Several churches joined with us as volunteers and kept right on helping despite the rainy weather, all for a total of 37 volunteers which always makes the projects more fun.
During out time there, we were able to bless one resident who is older herself and takes care of her 90 plus year old mother who had recently fallen and broken her hip. When she came home from work and a visit to the hospital, she was overcome by emotion when she saw the new skirting, improved steps and railing on her home. It wasn’t the physical stuff so much but again what it represented, that someone cared for her and her situation. Lending a helping hand up in terms of the material stuff of life is good and great to do yet the real changes come when the person knows someone cares enough to come and give them a hand.
Consider one staff member, who had previously started a home to help those who struggle with the effects of alcoholism. Recently having gone through some medical challenges, and still recovering, yet he was there with his family to pitch in and help. Why? Because he has personally experienced what it means when someone comes to help when you really need that help. This ‘pay-it-forward’ attitude comes from one who has known the blessing of being helped and has now turned around and is doing the same for others – we could all learn a lesson from these types of folks!
Another resident, struggling from the effects of a stroke, even with a great deck, was unable to get out of her home without help because there was no ramp. Impact Cares was able to build her a ramp that she could then go in and out on her own. A simple ramp brought freedom and thanksgiving to one person facing the challenges of life.
While Impact Cares was in this precious community, we received a note saying ‘Thank you for all you do.” The note went on to say, 'thanks for what was accomplished for this resident, her neighbors and the community at large.' These sorts of encouragements make it all worthwhile, knowing you’re making a difference in people’s lives. Again and again, when you see the smiles, you hear the kind words; you know it’s worth it!
Sunnyside, while not so much sunny while we there proved to be a ‘sunny’ place! The people in this community know what it means to help one another. ‘Papa Smurf’ an older resident, in his 80’s, is known for lending a helping hand whenever and wherever he can. The community manager was great, amazing actually. The residents pitched in to help along with the local churches and some great Impact staff! Sunnyside is situated in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and is located in an absolutely beautiful part of this great county and is populated by some absolutely beautiful people!
Russ Ooms on behalf of Impact Cares