FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Family donates home to Helping Hand House
It began with a painting of a dog.
Gary had a surprise gift in mind for his wife, Vicki – a painting of their beloved family pets. He commissioned a local artist, Frances Buckmaster, to do the work, and in the midst of their conversations, shared about the desire that they had as a family to make a significant impact in the community, something that was going to make a true and tangible difference. Circumstances had aligned in such a way they had the capacity to invest in something significant, and rapidly.
Frances is an amazing friend of the homeless and a former Board member at Helping Hand House. She told Gary about the mission and work with families, and invited Gary to breakfast with Nola Renz, the Executive Director at Helping Hand House.
This is where the mystery is. Nola described Gary as, “a listener. You could see him listening – hearing and measuring what he was hearing.” Our hunch is that this is part of what makes him a savvy businessman – but again, back to the story.
Four days after the New Year, Nola got a call from Gary, asking if she could spare one hour to spend with him. He took her on a tour of several houses. “Which one is your favorite, Nola?” he asked. “I felt so strange answering the question, I didn’t know how to answer!” she laughs as she tells us the story. “There was one that was more beautiful than the rest, an incredible model home, nicer than any home I or any of my staff have ever lived in – I wasn’t sure exactly what was going to happen, but I had my hunches and wanted the decision to be theirs”.
Gary and Vicki had their eye on the same house to purchase as an investment. An investment in the future of a little girl who was preparing for another day in her 4th grade class in the rearview mirror of a 1992 Chrysler minivan, her “bedroom”. An investment in a mother who was pining for freedom and safety in the loneliness of her thoughts after another drunken rage from her abusive husband.
An investment in families, families who needed help, but first and foremost needed a place to call home.
At the dedication ceremony, Gary shared passionately about his desire to see lives changed within those four walls, as well as being grateful for the means and the opportunity to share this experience with his daughters. They are joyfully supportive, and have embraced the heart of the mission as much as their dad and mom have.
Ok. We know that the story didn’t really begin with a painting of a dog. The indescribably intangible tangibility of desiring to be a part of another’s life changing forever was birthed in a heart long before person A met person B. But as stories go, one building upon another, this story is ongoing. The parade of faces, joys, and successes made possible by this caring family will now and always be a part of the Helping Hand House story.