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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Make This House a Home

When I received my recipient earlier this year, I was pretty excited. This person has no hesitation in offering what they can do for other people. So I was on the prowl to find something that I could do extra special. From my perspective, this person always seems very calm and collected. No matter how bad their life is, they carry a smile and with the faith in Heavenly Father, proceed in life to take care of their family.
Well......this families life fell apart in September. I found this a great opportunity to give as much as I could to Michael. Whenever I saw a chance or was asked to help, I jumped on it. When Michael was having battery problems with his vehicles, I gave them my battery starter to carry around. I also offered my muscles to help him move his belongings out of Ed and Kris' house and into a storage unit. When I would visit them at home, I would clean up the kitchen and wash the dishes. There was a time that Michael called me to help him move a mountain. Well, it was really just a tv, but it FELT like a mountain. I felt bad that I couldn't do it at that time, but it worked out the next day that I helped him take it to the curb. We actually needed Mitzi's and papa's help as well.Then when the Hocks started doing the treatments for Andrew, Charise and I watched their kids every now and then.

For those of you that do not know, when you are admitted to a hospital more than fifty miles away from your home, you are eligible to stay at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH). When Cole was born, we stayed in a RMH. It is basically a B&B for families with relatives in the hospital for a long term stay. The RMH gives you a great place to relax and get away from the hospital for a while without the burden of a high cost hotel. They charge a very small fee, but take further donations if you choose. All the RMH operate on volunteers except for a few core staff. This is a great organization for anyone with a family medical condition far from home. My family is so grateful that we were able to stay in a RMH with Cole. I am comforted that my brother and sister had the same opportunity during their out of state treatments with Andrew.

So what I wanted to do is give something back to the RMH since they have taken care of two of our families. Andrew had his initial surgery at the Duke Hospital in Durham. So I contacted the RMH of Durham to see what I could do for them. Without revealing the blue eye shadow, I told them some of my talents and ideas through email. We scheduled an appointment that I could come on property and meet with Holly, my contact. She was so excited when we met, that she went and got another lady, Jessica, to come meet me and tell me what they needed.  They mentioned some shelves in the housekeeping closet, which is really a small room. Then some desks up in the volunteers office, as well as some other shelving for their retail stock. I wanted to look at these projects and see what I could do to benefit the grieving guests at this property.

After a short tour, I picked the shelves in the housekeeping room. This is where they store all the blankets, towels, sheets, pillows, mattress pads, etc. for all the rooms on that floor. What they were using was metro shelving that really wasn't efficient and more in the way. I told her I was going to look at my schedule to get a day when I could come out and build them some shelves. In the meantime, Jessica was going to get some ideas directly from the housekeeping crew on what they wanted. After touching base about a week later, we had a date, material, and time. I went out and started my quest.
The front wall that the shelves are going on

During my project, everyone I came in contact with, knew about me and what I was doing. I felt like a rock star being so popular. The guests would exhaustively say "Hello" as I passed them in the halls. I knew a little of the pain and frustration in their hearts which made me move forward even more in my construction. At one point I didn't have the right trim so I had to run to Home Depot to do a materials run. I wanted these shelves to be efficient. I wanted the housekeepers job to be as easy as possible.  I wanted to give everything I had to a house that took care of my brothers family. I wanted them to look perfect!

After a late start, arriving about noon, I finished building the shelves at seven thirty that night. I did not have time to prime and paint them, but the maintenance guy, Mauro, already told me if I didn't have enough time to paint them, he would do it for me. I looked at the shelves. I looked at the guests in the dining room getting dinner as I was cleaning up. I looked at the volunteers serving them with smiles on their faces. In the lobby, the tweens  were playing board games. I went to tell Jessica and Holly that I was done. The door to the back offices was locked. I was the only one there besides the kitchen staff and reception attendant.
Front Shelves

Back Shelves

My job here is complete. The excitement they had in me to complete this project was impeccable. The families I saw bonding together after a day of trials and dead ends....its not easy. Michael, your Andrews rock star. You have a great love for your family and an everlasting desire to protect and take care of them. I was honored to do this in your name.


  1. Me...sobbing. Thank you so much Billy! This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your time and talents and I'm glad you got to experience the magic of RMH again in a different way. Thank you so much! We love you Billy!

  2. This is so great Bill! What a lasting impact you were able to make for the Ronald McDonald House!

  3. My heart and tears are warm...so wonderful bill.