“Shocked and blown away” were the words Amy (Faber) Beard, Polo, used to describe her feelings when a group of teens from an Evanston church offered to paint her house and spruce up her yard.
Beard has suffered from lupus for the past 38 years.
“I can’t do much,” she said.
Her husband Paul, a meat cutter, works his full-time job plus a part-time one mowing yards “to make ends meet,” she said.
“I don’t think it would have got done otherwise,” Beard said as she watched the teenagers and adults bustling around her yard with rakes, shovels, hammers, and paint brushes on June 30.
Former Polo resident Mike McGuire, who now lives in Evanston, was behind the project.
He grew up in Polo and his mother Julie was one of Beard’s teachers at Polo High School.
He brought the youth group from Evanston United Methodist Church and their leaders to the Beards’ home to paint the exterior and do yard work.
They started June 28 and worked for three days, getting two coats of paint on the house, trimming and removing bushes, raking, and planting perennials and annuals.
They stayed overnight at his farm in rural Polo.
“We’re trying to brighten Amy’s life,” he said.
He also enlisted the help of local volunteers including Dave and Laurie Sherrick and their daughter Emily and others.
In all, he said, approximately 20 people volunteered to help.
McGuire said the youth group, comprised of 12 to 14 year-olds, does a service project every summer, usually in Rockford.
This year, he said, the youth leaders wanted to make the experience more personal.
“We wanted them to get to know the people we are serving,” he said.
He consulted his classmate Dave Sherrick for someone in need in his hometown and learned about Beard’s situation.
“Amy has a lot of medical issues and she needed some help,” McGuire said.
Ben Katner, Polo, who works at Sherwin Williams in Dixon, pitched in by getting supplies for the project at a reduced cost.
“At first I was shocked, but I shouldn’t have been knowing Mike and the Sherricks,” Beard said. “They define what a true Christian should be.”
She praised the hard work and willingness of the teenagers.
“It’s already done and it’s beautiful,” she said. “We’re so blessed and grateful. We’re just humbled that someone would do this for us.”
Having the company of the group was also very welcome, Beard said.
“I love meeting people, and I love teenagers,” she said.
She invited anyone interested to stop by and see the completed project.