Hometown Heroes

April 29, 2020

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Habitat for Humanity Capital Region is and always has been a volunteer driven organization; being unable to come together to build and repair homes during the COVID-19 pandemic is a difficult reality for the organization and for its many dedicated volunteers. Habitat Capital Region volunteer, Tom, can’t serve in his normal volunteer capacity right now so he got creative to continue building communities and hope by using his woodworking skills and generous heart.

He asked community members to help identify “Hometown Heroes”, people who are going above and beyond helping others during this global health crisis. He is recognizing these nominees by sending them his beautifully handcrafted wooden American flags, built with love in his home workshop. “I know there’s a lot of people out there doing a lot of good,” said Tom.

Subtle acts of service can have a large impact in someone else’s life: healthcare and essential service workers rising to the occasion, neighbors supporting vulnerable neighbors, and people building hope in their communities.

“Hopefully this thing will end soon and we can all get back to work and all us volunteers for Habitat can get back to building houses, repairing houses, and building ramps. There’s a lot of people out there that need help right now and they’re waiting for [us],” said Tom.

Meet the Hometown Heroes!

Thanks to the nominators for recognizing the people in their lives who are going above and beyond serving their communities, and thanks to the nominees for their dedication to their community and for the hope and strength they provide to the people around them.

Kris Beckwith | Battle Creek, MI

My mom always puts everyone else first! She dropped everything and started sewing masks during this pandemic and gave away over 350 to essential workers. Nurses, assisted living homes, people working retail. She’s amazing and is so deserving of this!

Jennifer Schrader | Dewitt, MI

Jen has completely poured herself into creating masks for health care facilities and other essential businesses. She creates the masks also upon request for individuals and families in the community, completely FREE of charge. As of this weekend, she was upwards of 200 masks hand measured, cut and sewn. She is a full time employee, wife and mother to three little ones - yet she finds the time to devote to helping others she doesn't know. She is an inspiration!

Dalis Hitchcock | St. Louis, MI

Dalis runs Dalis to the Rescue, an animal rescue. She works around the clock to help animals. This is her busiest time of the year because of how many kittens are being born. She takes in as many animals as she can and makes sure they are spayed or neutered before they are adopted so that she can do as much as possible to help the problem of unwanted animals. Normally she relies on donations, but with the current state of things that has been hard. But the kittens keep coming and she has not slowed down.

In addition to rescuing unwanted animals, she also takes in animals with injuries. She pays for their vet care and nurses them back to health before finding them the perfect home. For all of these animals, she works to get to know each animal and find the perfect fit for their home. Her goal is to put every animal in the right home so they can have success and not end up back with her. None of this has stopped during the pandemic. She is finding ways to pay for everything and take care of all of the animals with little help.

The thing that everyone loves most about Dalis is her heart, and never has it been bigger than right now. She is offering food and supplies to anyone who needs them. She knows that having an animal can be expensive, and with so many people out of work she wants to take away some stress for those that need help.

Dutt Patel | Canton, MI

My friend Dutt is a registered nurse at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak. He works in the medical ICU which was designated the COVID ICU during the outbreak. Dutt just finished a 22-day stretch of providing healthcare for those most directly affected by the virus.

When Dutt is not working, he spends time at his parents’ home taking care of his father who is battling cancer.

Dutt has enough on his plate to foster a bad attitude, but what makes Dutt so deserving of recognition is that he remains positive and works hard to make his patients, family, and friends feel taken care of.

Leslie Hart-Davidson | Williamston, MI

Leslie Hart-Davidson is by profession an Interior Designer (HDD Studios), an author and public speaker. She is also a successful wife, mother, daughter, sister and pet rescuer. Leslie is by far the most creative person I know and one of the most giving, as well.

As of yesterday (April 15th) "Aunt Leslie" presented her 31st episode (on Facebook) of PILLOW BOOKS. Each evening, Leslie recognizes kids by their names, shows a fun pillow she has made, reads (with great expression and sound effects) a fun children's book and then has a Show n Tell. Often, one of her pets is present to add to the fun time. When Leslie ran out of her own daughter's books, parents of the kids watching her episodes began dropping off their own books at her house so the story telling could continue.

Leslie ends each episode with these encouraging words: "Kids, be kind to your parents - because they really need it. And give. When in doubt, give more." As a kid myself (in a 59 year old's body) I have been richly blessed by Leslie's warmth, humor and generosity.

Corey Wagner | Lansing, MI

Corey Wagner stepped up during this pandemic by utilizing his creative and technical skills to support the local community. Corey has always been an advocate for the health community, especially in promoting autism awareness.

Recently, he noticed the price increases/limited supply of personal protection for healthcare workers was causing a strain at Sparrow hospital. With his background in 3D printing, he began to research how he can print face shields to donate to the hospital. He was able to donate several of these critical masks and his employer, Liquid Web, recognized his efforts. They donated Corey a second 3D printer to increase the capacity that can be made for the Sparrow healthcare workers.

Corey continues to make these face shields and promotes them on social media to collect small donations to assist with the cost of materials.