Habitat Home Dedication in Ishpeming

In the Community Foundation world, it is very easy to get caught up in the details of operations, finance and fundraising. Last week I was acutely reminded that although important to our success, our true purpose can easily be forgotten, when planning annual celebrations and creating budgets. I was invited to attend a celebration and dedication of a recently renovated/rehab Habitat for Humanity home in Ishpeming. I put it on my calendar but when the day came it was very cold with a heavy wintery mix of snow and rain falling, I was less than excited about attending. The Greater Ishpeming Area Fund granted $1,500 to the Women Build Program to build a wheel chair accessible ramp for Patty Barry and her family. As I stood in Patty’s new living room with no furniture and the smell of fresh paint, surrounded by her friends, family and community I was struck with a truer sense of community than I have ever witnessed. Patty’s handicapped son was propped at the back of the room, his legs unable to help him stand. I was told he needed the ramp, so he could get himself into the house because he typically used his arms, not his legs, to get around. When Patty spoke, she described the pain of losing her husband last fall and the renewed hope she experienced when she took her first tour of the home. Even though she knew it needed a ton of work, she could finally feel a sense of hope and visualize moving forward with her son and daughter. Standing in her tiny dining area, she profusely thanked Habitat for Humanity, the Ishpeming Community Fund, the Community Foundation of Marquette County, her friends and family who all spent countless hours working alongside her to make this house a home. I stood there feeling very grateful to be a part of something so much bigger and important than anyone of us standing in that room. The power of community is so much more than writing a check. Today I am grateful to have participated in that very special dedication and have resolved to value the invitations to witness wonderful moments such as these. This is why we serve.