Wow, what a week and a half it has been! It started with a charging Braveheart march across a gleaming six-acre field on a gorgeous blue-sky day. It ended with cheers from a rousing crowd that came to celebrate the masterpiece created for a family that had devoted their lives to serving others.
Judging from the looks on the faces of the Dunning family when the bus moved forward, our community was successful in achieving the goal of building happiness. As a matter of fact, I saw happiness build each day, as smiling volunteers carried armloads of soda and water to the build site. With every piece of lumber added, drywall hung, or paint applied, happiness grew. Never mind the fact that somewhere in the middle of it all, there was an earthquake, hurricane, and even a nearby tornado – none of that could stop the progress of happiness.
Thank you to everyone who volunteered, sponsored, supported, helped, cheered, and encouraged. Thank you to those who kept in touch and got the word out to others through Twitter, Facebook, phone calls, and word of mouth. There were approximately 2,000 volunteers and over 250 sponsors involved with the creation of the Jusst Sooup Ranch and we needed every one of you to make this happen. The best part of all, is that this is not the end of a process, but rather the start of something bigger than we all imagined. It is the start of a new chapter in life for the Dunnings and those they serve in the area. The impact is far-reaching, as this means fewer and fewer people in our area will go hungry. It is also the beginning of new business relationships that were developed over the course of the build and, yes, even new friendships for those involved. I encourage you to check out the businesses and restaurants on our sponsor list and chat with them about their experience with this project when you stop by for dinner or to purchase a product. I know they will be excited and proud to tell you about their involvement because each one poured their heart and soul into the effort. Many of them provided products and services at a moment’s notice – sometimes in the middle of the night.
I was thinking back to about a month ago when our marketing team was brainstorming the theme for the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition project. We had a lot of ideas but kept coming back to the fact that, while our state is small, the giving spirit is big. So, we summed it up this way: Small Wonder. Big Heart. Until last week, we never knew just how big that heart really is. Thank you all.