So, as Financial Steward I occasionally need to visit a client to get a signature or two because of requirements from certain funding sources. Wednesday was one of those days. I called ahead then drove down McKnight Road, on all these side streets and finally down this little alley to pull up in front of the house. Harold welcomed me in the home which was worn but neat and clean. He signed the document then called his wife to come in. He gently asked her to come into the living room four times. Finally she shuffles in. She is severely mentally challenged. Their fourteen year old son follows her in. He is quite challenged as well. Harold makes sure his wife knows she needs to sign her name. I point to the place on the paper to sign. She puts the pen some other place on the paper. I gently move her hand to the right location.
“Here?” she asks.
“Yes, right there.” Then she moves her pen about an inch and a half across the paper and writes her name over there. Okay. At least her name is on the page. Meanwhile, the boy has picked up three plastic fireman hats. One for each of us. So I’m wearing this little hat while she is signing the paper. When she’s done I turn to the boy, “Hey, we’re all firemen!”
“No,” he responds. “You a fire-girl.”
We chat a little and I head back to my deskwork. I scan the document and send it to the funder with a little email explanation as to why the signature isn’t where it belongs. She is a good woman. She understands. She feels bad that I had to go get the signature under these circumstances.
Then I have the chance to explain to her. I love what I do. I love where I work. When our staff went to Harold’s house, they went to provide a handicap-accessible shower, a few appliances, and to renovate the kitchen. While they were there, they saw there was no food in the kitchen. No food in the cupboards, no food in the refrigerator. The next day, two of our mission workers went grocery shopping. They stocked Harold’s cupboards and refrigerator with staples. Then, shortly before Christmas, some volunteers went back to Harold’s house. They gave the family Christmas gifts and some meat. Where else could I work that would not only provide repairs on the home but put food in the cupboards and gifts under the Christmas tree? Who else does what Hosanna does? I’m proud to work here – even if it does mean that I have to wear a plastic firehat sometimes.