As our Goodness’ Sake Project begins to take form, the time has finally arrived that I have been waiting for – putting it into action! The awesome moment of being able to thank profound members within our community is upon us, and I could not be happier!
In addition to our “Do Good Now” Cards, we have also implemented another fun way to make someone’s day, with a more anonymous option of saying “thanks.”
For a ‘sentiment that sticks’ we have launched “You Matter” Magnets, which are a great way of telling a deserving recipient that their kindness has not gone unnoticed. We offer this program to show those giving community members that you in fact do matter, both to us personally, and your community. These magnets get surreptitiously placed on car doors, computers, or refrigerators of generous people.
For our first recipient, we chose a wonderful man and neighbor, Ron Hager. Having had the pleasure of being Ron’s neighbor for roughly six years, he has been nothing but kind and generous to both me as well as my daughter Jazmyne.
Shortly after moving in next door to him, we discovered that Ron and his lovely wife Gina were Foster Parents to kids here in our community, as well as our neighboring community about 15 miles away. Honestly, these two could not be a better fit home for these little ones struggling to find their footing, while things get resolved at home with their biological families.
They are a perfect representation, of what all foster care homes and parents should be a reflection of. They are both such a benefit to this program in every way.
We have had the pleasure of meeting some amazing kids that have stayed with Ron over the years. In that time he has done nothing but provide a stable, happy, comfortable and loving environment for each and every one of them. Each child has been respectful, kind and always a good friend to my daughter.
Ron has also always gone above and beyond to include Jazmyne in his group activities with his kids. Ron does it all, from taking them to the Dollar Store, swimming at the local Aquatic Center and just having good old-fashioned fun at his house with sprinklers and a pool party.
The kids are never bored, and he always makes it a point to include everyone, equally.
He does not tolerate rude behavior or bullying, and resolve any issues of the sort immediately. He teaches the kids to talk it out, and work through their issues, being mindful of their social development, while demonstrating so much patience.
Some kids stay for short periods of time, others quite a bit longer. Some even leave and come back when they need to. Regardless of all these factors, he is still able to somehow provide each and every one of them with their own individual attention, and is equally involved in each of their day-to-day lives.
Ron truly cares for every one of his kids, and you can tell without a doubt, simply by witnessing just one interaction among them. From morning snacks and laughs at the bus stop, to school recitals, you can always count on seeing him there. He is always smiling, positive about the day, and offering encouragement and support, to not only his kids, but mine and others as well.
Just recently, after returning home from my daughter’s karate class, my Dad informed me that the ambulance had just left Ron’s house. He was unable to see who they took in the back, however, I knew it had to be one of the kids, as Ron’s vehicle was gone and Gina was quickly leaving as we pulled in.
Currently Ron and Gina are caring for two children that are under the age of two, another that is almost three years-old, a seven year-old and a nine year-old. Needless to say, their hands are full.
As a mother, I instantly had that sinking feeling in my stomach, not knowing what had happened, and to which child. What I did know, is that it had to have been serious. We live approximately five minutes away from the hospital, so for them to have dispatched an ambulance was very worrisome.
Tempted to call him, I held off, as I’m sure he had enough to deal with in that moment already. Instead, I kept looking outside in hopes that one of their vehicles would return, and hopefully, sooner than later.
They did arrive back home, sometime between 1:30 am or so, when I fell asleep, and 5:30 am when the kids woke up for school.
As soon as Jazmyne opened her eyes, the first thing she did was peak out the window, to see if they had made it back. I could see a sense of relief on her face that they were at least all home, as far as we knew.
When we headed to the bus stop we noticed Ron’s seven and nine year-old walking, which was not normal, unless Ron was gone. Now, I was again beginning to worry.
Was Ron still at the hospital with one of the younger kids? Was it Ron that was taken by ambulance? Again, I just didn’t know. However, I also knew that in a matter of thirty seconds, Jazmyne, my reporter in the making, was going to find out.
It was discovered that the second to the youngest had completely stopped breathing, and needed to have emergency surgery to correct the problem. Thankfully, due to being in a nurturing and aware environment, she will make a full recovery.
All I kept thinking to myself, as I heard my eight year-old spout out the information she had just gotten from her friends, was how incredibly scary and horrifying that must have been. This is every parent’s worst nightmare and one of our biggest fears, from the moment we become their little keepers.
I then realized that this man and his wife chose to do what others won’t, even when the responsibility falls in their court. They have chosen sleepless nights, sick babies, endless appointments, birthday parties and even terrifying ambulance rides.
The life that they have chosen is not to benefit themselves, but rather because they know in their hearts that these children, and so many others, need them. They have made the decision to risk going through the worst in order to give these children the best, and they continue to do it over and over again.
I have never once heard Ron complain about a child, their behavior, how tired he is, or how thin he is spread. Not once!
So, today, I would like to give a special thanks to Ron Hager, and all the other foster parents out there like him, that are in it for all of the right reasons…the kids. I think that the genuine heart of Ron can be summarized perfectly by one of his own Facebook quotes he recently posted:
“A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove. But the world will be a better place because I was important in the life of a child.”
The world will definitely be a better place because of you, Ron! All of the good that you have done will live on in the lives of the children that you have saved.
You are truly an inspiration, a wonderful person to know and very deserving of all the good that is coming your way. Today, we salute you, for Goodness’ Sake!