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Superbowl Week at its best… Revitalizing Miami

First things first, here is my Superbowl prediction:

New Orleans Saints 31

Indianapolis Colts 28

Who is bold enough to make their prediction?But, aside from the parties and shows in Miami, there is much more going on.When you think of Superbowl week, A-list celebrities, NFL

player media days, over-the-top events like Rihanna rocking South Beach and

bringing any city to its knees with traffic congestion are a part of the usual

mix. However, if you believe that either one of these examples given is what

makes Superbowl week something that every football fan should experience, you

are sadly mistaken.

On February 4th, “Kickoff to Rebuild” an extraordinary

event in its 15th year, led by Comfort Inn by Choice Hotels and “The

Steve Harvey Morning Show” joined forces with Rebuilding Together, NFL players

and over 300 volunteers to renovate six homes in the Coconut Grove area of

Miami.

Renovations included interior and exterior painting, pulling

up weeds, laying down grass and mulch, upgrading electrical wiring, replacing

appliances and so much more. Local volunteers got their hands dirty with NFL

players like Brandon Jones and the President/CEO of Choice Hotels

International, Stephen P. Joyce. “We’re in the hospitality business, so we’re

used to taking care of people,” said the CEO in between laying down grass. “So

when we witness the needs in our country today; people that are having

difficulties in holding onto their homes, we wanted to make a difference. While

other companies are pulling back, we (Choice Hotels) are lucky to be doing well

enough to give back.”

Across the country, there are thousands of families in dire

need of assistance. The Truesdell’s are one of them. Wesley Truedell is a 92

year old, disabled Army veteran of World War 2. He is the father of 13 children

and has lived in Miami since 1920. His family has lived in their current

residence for 40 years. Wesley decided to hire a contractor to increase the

size of his home. The contractor took Wesley’s $92,000 and ran off, leaving his

home incomplete and all hope, lost. I stood out front of the Truesdell home

with Wesley’s daughter Michelle and granddaughter Charmaine and watched on as

volunteers changed their lives forever.

“This is just tremendous,” said Michelle as she marveled at

the renovations. “I love it. We don’t know how to take care of a yard. Someone

is going to have to teach us how to keep it up because this is something we’ve never

had. All we had was dirt and rocks. We had a two bedroom home, with one

bedroom. Now we have a five bedroom home with three bedrooms. ‘Rebuilding

Together’ is the best!”“Words can’t even describe it,” Charmaine added. “We lived

here for two years without this. And to see this happen with my own eyes, it’s

breathtaking. We shared a bedroom, four of us because the house wasn’t

finished. For two years, we didn’t know where we were going to go. But now, to

see all of these amazing people out here helping us, it makes me emotional. It

finally looks like a home again.”

Gary Officer, President/CEO of ‘Rebuilding Together’, walked

by during my conversation with the Truesdell’s, so I grabbed his attention and

asked him about the turnout. “Today is an example of an extraordinary

outpouring of volunteerism,” he replied. “Everyone out here wants to see this

community stabilized; they want to be a part of the rebirth. And to see over

300 volunteers out here, five major national corporate sponsors, and

contractors working together on these homes, transforming these homes back into

assets again, shows the goodness in all people and the true power of giving

back.”

Steve Harvey and his morning show crew broadcasted live from

Coconut Grove. And while traveling to see the six homes that were renovated,

local residents gave him the Rock Star treatment. Let’s be honest, Steve wasn’t

about to pick up a brush and risk getting pink paint on his classic suit. His

purpose and presence was best suited as a motivator. He brought smiles to faces

before saying a word and laughter afterwards. During the Pep Rally, he managed

to do it all.“What you all are doing today is amazing,” he said. “You

have volunteered your time, your services and expertise and placed it into a

community that is often forgotten. I just met the Truesdell family. I just

“adopted” Wesley’s granddaughters both 12 and 14 years old. One wants to be a

pediatrician and one wants to be a doctor. So I made them make a promise to me.

If they stay in school, get good grades and don’t have any kids (waiting to

have children until after they’re married), my wife and I agreed that we’d put

them both through college. I also told them that if any boys try to speak to

them, spit on them and keep walking.”

Overall, ‘Kickoff to Rebuild’ was an overwhelming success

this year, as it was the 14 years that preceded it. You could say that it’s on

to the next one; the next year that is. And if the next Superbowl city is near

you, reach out to ‘Rebuilding Together’ and Choice Hotels for information on

how you could be a part of something special.

 

 

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