Senior citizens and disabled veterans in Redford Township and Dearborn Heights who aren't able to perform yard chores like raking leaves got an assist from an army of volunteers as part of Wayne County Commissioner Diane Webb's seventh annual Make a Senior Smile Day on Nov. 7.
All told, 135 volunteers worked at 43 houses and one senior center using 832 yard waste bags. In Redford, 80 volunteers worked at 28 houses, using 647 yard waste bags. In Dearborn Heights, 55 volunteers worked at 15 houses and the Eton Senior Center, using 185 yard waste bags.
"I want to thank everyone who was a part of this, from the volunteers to the sponsors to local officials to my staff," Commissioner Webb said. "It's a great feeling knowing that you're helping senior citizens and disabled veterans in need. We truly put smiles on a lot of people's faces, and I'm very grateful for that."
Volunteers met at Hubert-Fortiers-O'Grady Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 345 in Redford and the Eton Senior Center for a continental breakfast to kick off the event and a pizza lunch when it ended. Those who were at Eton received a visit from U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-12th District, who offered words of encouragement.
"It is so important that we, as a community, recognize the unique needs of our seniors and disabled veterans and work to meet them by giving back wherever we can," Rep. Dingell said. "The volunteers today have done just that, and their work truly makes a difference. I extend my sincere thanks to Commissioner Webb, who does a great job organizing this event each year, and everyone who chipped in to make a senior smile. Days like this are what being part of a community is all about."
Commissioner Webb was thrilled that Rep. Dingell visited with the volunteers.
"I want to thank Congresswoman Dingell for taking time out of her busy day to visit us," Commissioner Webb said. "It really means a lot because she is a huge advocate for seniors and veterans in her own right, and is very supportive of her communities."
Commissioner Webb would like to give a special thank you to the event sponsors. In Redford, they were Quattro Motors, G&G Auto Service Inc., LPS Construction, Cardinal Barber Shop, the Redford Township Chamber of Commerce, the Redford Democratic Club, the Redford Township Jaycees, Tim Hortons and Krustyzz Pizza. In Dearborn Heights, they were Papa John's Pizza and The Home Depot. She said that without their contributions, the event would not be possible.
Commissioner Webb wants to thank Dearborn Heights Mayor Daniel Paletko and the City Council for allowing use of the Eton Senior Center. She thanks Senior Citizen Coordinator Kristin Rockensuess and volunteers Linda Mahaney and Barth Bucciarelli for helping with breakfast and lunch for the volunteers. She wants to thank the board of VFW Post 345, along with hall manager Dave Bartels, Jerry and Lois Wludyka and Jill Davies, for helping with breakfast and lunch for the volunteers.
Commissioner Webb also would like to thank her legislative aides, Lisa Childs and Jaylee Lynch, for all their efforts in organizing the event. And, she would like to thank U.S. Rep. Dingell; state Reps. Leslie Love and Julie Plawecki; Dearborn Heights Councilwomen Lisa Hicks-Clayton and Marge Horvath; Redford Township Trustees Jay Johnson and Patricia Kennedy; Redford Deputy Clerk Tina Rekau; Dearborn Heights Police Chief Lee Gavin; and Dearborn Heights Fire Chief Dave Brogan for their support.
Among the Redford volunteers were Adam Bonarek and the Redford Township Jaycees; Kevin Harris from Rep. Love's office; the Redford Union High School baseball team and National Honor Society; the Thurston High School National Honor Society; the Redford Police Department Junior Explorers; representatives of South Redford Christian Church, Mercy Road Church and Lighthouse Community Church of God; Keith Donaldson and his son, Brian, from St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church; Gary Arndt and his daughter, Amanda; and Candis Krul.
Dearborn Heights volunteers also included the Annapolis High School Key Club, Wayne County Master Gardeners, and the Kiwanis K-Kids and Teen Action Council under the direction of Councilwoman Hicks-Clayton.