Mabel Darby-Morey, the Town of Windham’s zoning and code enforcement coordinator captured John and Linda Gregoire’s belief and experiences in a nutshell. When Linda arrived at the town’s code enforcement office to pick up a permit to re-construct the leach field in their backyard, (which had already been paid), Linda told Darby-Morey the story. Upon hearing the explanation for the paid permit, Darby-Morey stated, “It’s true. Good people still exist in the world.”
So how does a story about a damaged leach field lead to people who provide positive change in world? The narrative goes something like this:
It all began with an annual community volunteer event, PowerServe. PowerServe has become a yearly event that serves area organizations and individuals who need assistance with various tasks. Prior to the volunteers arriving at the Gregoire’s home for the scheduled service date of Saturday, May 26th, two PowerServe coordinators stopped by to see what the group would need to do and the equipment that would be required to successfully provide the services.
“That’s when they saw the leach field was wet and said it looked like a problem,” Linda explained. “I told them I thought it probably was a problem, but I couldn’t do much about it. One of the coordinators came in and met John and decided to check things out at Town Hall to see if they could help with a repair on the leach field. Fast forward to Memorial Day and Powerserve came and helped us.”
PowerServe’s yearly support has been valuable to the Gregoire’s. John was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) 11 years ago and is now wheel-chair bound. Both he and his wife Linda, who assists him in meeting his daily needs, are unable to work on home projects such as the yard work that PowerServe volunteers can provide.
Although it is true for most people that a leach field replacement is not an easy fix, financially or otherwise, it is especially challenging for the Gregoires. “John is now non-mobile and non-verbal, and we simply do not have the time, money or physical resources to repair such damage,” Linda explained.
But, there is good that still exists.
It just so happened that Drew Daigle was a member of the PowerServe volunteer effort. Daigle’s profession is in excavation and he works for a local company, Shaw Earthworks. After many twists, turns and conversations, Daigle, Shaw Earthworks and many others donated their time, money and resources to replace the defective leach field.
“They worked with such precision and talent and everyone was so nice and pleasant,” Linda said, and then added with a laugh, “I told John it is true that we need lawyers and doctors, but this proves we need leach field experts, too.”
Both Linda and John are grateful for the gift they received from all those who donated their time, money and efforts. As a result, they wish to provide their thanks publicly.
“This is the most amazing blessing to John and me,” Linda began. “We’ve realized for awhile we needed this repair but didn’t have the means to do so. It was always on my mind. When I went to pay for the permit, I was told it was already paid for. God has watched out for us and brought us earthbound angels to help when we needed an extra hand. We are so blessed and there are so many people to thank.”
But the Gregoires also provide their own gift back to the community. “We all go through something,” Linda stated. “It’s what you decide to do with what life gives you that matters.”
In the early years after John’s diagnosis, he and Linda created the non-profit, The Hope-JG Foundation, an ALS charity organization with a focus on establishing an ALS/MS residence in Maine, helping families of ALS to enhance the quality of life for people with ALS.
The organization helps other individuals with ALS, whether it is a new pair of glasses or adding a wheel-chair lift to an individual’s truck. “We serve others whose needs should be met so they can live life as fully as possible,” Linda said.
“Hope-JG gives John a purpose. For John, purpose and serving a higher need is what keeps him alive – alive in spirit and in health despite living with the advanced stages of ALS,” Linda stated.
It is true. Good people doing great things for others does truly still exist today. John and Linda would like to thank the following individuals and organizations:
PowerServe volunteers and coordinators.
Drew Daigle -Lead PowerServe Volunteer.
Brandon Lussier from Pillar to Post for inspecting the leach system before the work was completed.
Mark Hampton who did the design work.
Brad and Brian Shaw of Shaw Earthworks and their employees Kane Mason and Josh Roux.
Arkie Rogers Septic Tank Service.
Carol and Richard Powell for their contribution.
“God bless you all as you have blessed us,” Linda said. “I told John our house has been repaired by love.”
The first PowerServe event initially began as a one-time occurrence in the spring of 2016 to honor a Windham High School student who had passed away. After the initial volunteer effort, there were many requests for the event to happen on an ongoing basis. It has now become an annual event.
To learn more about the Hope-JG Foundation, visit the website at www.hope-jg.org.