This week we laid to rest a great friend to many in Owosso. This is a short excerpt from his eulogy about community involvement. As evidenced by all the people who have stopped by, called, and messaged on social media, Brian was well loved in our community.
Many people volunteer in our community, but Brian, probably more than most of us, dedicated his life to serving of his community. Some of the local groups he has worked with include: Habitat for Humanity, Corunna Historical Village, Kiwanis, Special Olympics, Shiawassee Right to Life, United Way, Owosso Main Street, Rotary, Red Cross, Steam Railroad Institute, Community Prayer Breakfast, Boy Scouts, Saturday Morning Free Medical Clinic, Owosso’s Bark Park, Owosso Historic Commision, Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Owosso Artwalk, and others.
For many of those groups, Brian was not simply one of the volunteers that showed up on his obligatory Saturday to “put in his time.” He was very active, even in the formation of many groups. All of this actually is pretty easy to do, you just have to spend every minute away from home in the service of your community, but what Brian did a few years ago sets him apart from all other volunteers.
He formed a not-for-profit organization called Shalome Home. He put his beautiful home in the service of his community as he welcomed in anyone that needed shelter and could not find it anywhere else. Many people that were homeless and had no one to help them called Brian’s home their home for a short time, and while there, Brian would help them get into school, get day jobs, and apply for permanent work. He also counseled and ministered to the young men he was helping. Brian continued to take care of these individuals even after it was evident that he needed someone to take care of him.
A friend of mine told me the other day that he believes that 10 percent of a community’s residents do all of the volunteer and community support work in a town, and that Brian was definitely one of that 10 percent. Well, I would take it a step further and put Brian in the top one percent of those, as he dedicated his life to serving Owosso, the community he loved so much. Thank you, Brian, for all you did and the love you showed for our great city and its residents.
John Hankerd, Owosso