Last week I spent 5 days in the most wonderful field in the world located in Ottawa, Kansas. Extreme Makeover Home Edition had chosen Gina and Allen Hill, their children, Makale and Dreyson, and Allen’s dog Frankie, as the recipients of a new house constructed to meet the needs and wishes of the family and in particular those of Allen who has PTSD.
Over 3,000 volunteers assembled in over 100 degree heat and over seven days, they committed to building a new house, which we all hope will become a new home for the Hills. I am so proud to say I was one of those volunteers.
This house will change the lives of the Hill family. They will live together as a family, they will create memories for years to come. The Extreme Makeover team really “got it” in terms of mental illness and how the house can address those issues and provide safety and comfort to Allen. For that, I thank them.
On a personal note, my life has been changed as well. I was so pleased to have been provided the opportunity to help Gina and Allen. I thought it would be great to help, I never thought my own life would be so do positively impacted. Any volunteer activity brings a certain level of self satisfaction, a sense of “inner warmth”. This past week, I was overwhelmed in the best sense of the word to have been a witness to the kindness of strangers, to see such compassion exhibited so openly. As well, I met the most wonderful of people. We shared stories of tragedy, of hope, of inspiration. Tears of despair at times, tears of joy at others.
One person in particular told me a bit about her life and the difficulties she faced and then conquered. She has now become such a force in our world, she taught me a lot, and inspired me even more.
There are good people in the world though we don’t always think so.
Whoever thought this Canadian would find himself walking through a cornfield in Kansas with hard hat in hand. I certainly did not, but I am so happy I was there.