Friday, October 31, 2014

Thanks to those who make our community better

Posted on Feb. 4, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Feb. 4, 2013 at 6:36 p.m.

Our regular Tuesday expression of gratitude for those working to make this a better community:

Leon “Duffy” Sherman works for Habitat of Elkhart County. He makes a living with his hands.

Early last month, someone stole his tools — and with them, Sherman’s ability to support his family.

Thieves took hammers, wrenches, a screw gun and other tools from Sherman’s Habitat for Humanity pickup truck outside his home Jan. 8. The tools were uninsured.

That forced Sherman to use his rent money to buy new tools.

“It hurt,” Sherman told an Elkhart Truth reporter. “Right now, I’ve only replaced about half of them.”

Lawrie Covey, his girlfriend’s mother, established an account on gofundme.com to help Sherman. That brought in about $300, but Covey hopes to raise five times that.

One donor made a gift of $100 as “A kindness in recognition of yours and of the 26 who died in Newtown.”

Someone stole tools from a carpenter who helps people escape poverty, putting his family at risk. The least we can do is help him rebuild his life.

Thanks to Covey for setting the wheels in motion. Thanks, too, to those helping Sherman as he gets back on his feet.

Thanks to organizers of the annual Homeward Bound walk to help the homeless, set for Feb. 16 at Concord Mall.

Money raised at this year’s walk will go to help Church Community Services, Emerge Ministries, Goshen Interfaith Hospitality Network, Habitat for Humanity of Elkhart County, iFiT, LaCasa, Minority Health Coalition of Elkhart County and The Window.

In a community where poverty exceeds 18 percent and entire families can find themselves homeless almost without warning, those organizations do vital work. They need every dollar we can spare.

To register for the walk, visit Homeward Bound Elkhart County (http://is.gd/dqXmiR).

Finally, thanks to those in the Wakarusa community who’ve made it their mission to help 6-year-old Simon Blanchard, diagnosed last Thanksgiving with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Wakarusa Elementary School raised $2,700 with a sucker sale and raffle. Supporters generated another $3,200 from a bake sale at a NorthWood High School basketball game.

But the support doesn’t stop there.

Their babysitter’s family cleaned the house while the Blanchards were at the hospital with Simon, and someone stocked the pantry with food.

“We still don’t know who did that,” Tonya Blanchard told a Truth reporter. “And people bring us meals once or twice a week. That had been a phenomenal help because my work hours are crazy now.”

Simon’s chemotherapy treatments will continue every week for six months, but the Blanchards know they’re not alone — the entire community has taken their boy to heart.

Thanks to Wakarusa for helping a sick child and his family.