By Kathy Finholt
What does it take to bring a community together to pursue a common goal? In Independence, it took an inspirational family who has surmounted incredible obstacles and just needs a little help to keep going.
Back in 2009, friends and neighbors of the Sue Spece family nominated them for the “Extreme Makover: Home Edition” program. Sue’s three adult children are all wheelchair-bound because of a form of muscular dystrophy. Yet all three Spece children earned college degrees and run businesses — Jackie owns a dance studio, Jacob a dairy farm, and Josh a garden and gift shop. They have always been among the first to help their neighbors, to participate in Relay for Life and other fundraisers, and the last to ask for help.
But the family does need help. Even working as hard as they do, money is short, and time is shorter. Maneuvering her children through a nonaccessible home takes too many hours of Sue Spece’s day, and manually lifting adults in and out of wheelchairs is hard on her back. Funds are too limited for regular repairs to their home, much less widening doorways or installing lift systems.
When the show announced a 2011 build in Iowa, we were all sure the Speces would be the stars. We were wrong. Another extraordinarily deserving family in West Union was chosen.
The Spece family still needed help. So a group of friends and neighbors formed “Building a Dream in the Country: A New Home for the Spece Family.”
Even in the midst a recession, we have raised more $61,000 in just five months! Donations have come from many states and as far away as New Zealand and Denmark; individuals and groups have hosted 18 fundraisers; in-kind and auction donations from dozens of businesses have helped to support the cause. And media outlets have helped us spread the word.
We thank everyone for their amazing support for the Spece family!
We are a very determined group. We will not give up on reaching our goal of $200,000, even if it takes us two years We will work until the Speces are in a safe, accessible new home!
There will be many events and opportunities to help Building a Dream raise funds for the Spece family in coming months.
We also are always looking for more volunteers to serve on the committee as well as and help with events. If you are interested in joining our team, contact Kristy Ward at (319) 830-2098, Shalon Frye at (319) 270-5095, or me, Kathy Finholt, at (319) 334-6256. To learn more about our project, check Facebook or visit our website at www.buildingadreaminthecountry.com.
Kathy Finholt is co-chair of the Building a Dream Committee.