Cameras? Check. Mics? Check. Tents? Check. Sweltering Heat? Check. Bottled water? Double check. Everything you need for an eventful media conference, that’s what happened today. It almost felt like a block party, there were even construction-themed cookies!
Everyone was fired up, partly because it was scorching outside but mainly because I think everyone attending was able to see many of the key players who are making this project possible all in one place. It gave greater tangibility to how much these people care about their veterans and about their community. All the different people and organizations were able to find common ground with one another in helping this family and in seeing the bigger picture.
With each person that spoke there were gracious words of sincere appreciation and on a couple of occasions, even some unobscured emotion. There was a look of joy and satisfaction on the faces of so many there and I have never seen the Birdwells look happier and more excited. It made me excited too.
When there was time, I looked around at the other houses on the block and I thought how this house (that used to look so much like all the others) has brought so much attention to this little street. I thought about the future and how this neighborhood might change and how the Birdwell family will change it.
I think what Kathi Ferrero (from Jeremiah Development, the organization that helped set up the Birdwells with this house) said is true: “this family is going to be a gift to this neighborhood”. Clearly, Kathi is not the only one who can see the gift that the Birdwell family is. Anthony had said at the beginning of this project that with his veteran status and his disability “a lot of people just turn their heads”, and he’s right. But today’s media conference was about those people who have turned their heads toward Anthony and Kerri and their hands and hearts as well.