Make A Difference Day

USA WEEKEND’s Make A Difference Day (MADD) is an annual event that takes place on the fourth Saturday of October. Created by the magazine in 1992, it soon grew into the largest community service effort in the nation, rallying corporations, government leaders, charitable organizations and everyday Americans into action on one day. Each year, 3 million people participate worldwide, helping millions more.

For MADD 2009, the Royals football team spent some time helping out with yard work that needed to be done at Phil Kerbawy’s home. Denny Thompson (Blissfield coach), the athletes and the students, followed by the community of Blissfield has made a difference in the life of Phil Kerbawy. Read more about Phil in this story from the Adrian Telegram that was reported earlier this year.

Phil Kerbawy has a passion for sports and coach Denny Thompson knew just how to harness that passion that led to enrichment for the lives of all involved. Denny invited Phil to be the team manager way back in 1978 and Phil has directly contributed to team events until this day.

After a particularly rough game the team had this last season, the Royals football team were visibly feeling the effects of their game loss during the bus ride home. Denny had the compassion to warn Phil (affectionately nick-named Maynard) that the team may not indulge him with the usual clap and chant – “Maynard, Maynard” when the team dropped him off at home as they often do.

Phil arose from his seat and made his exit from the bus. I’m thinking Coach was pleasantly surprised and a bit impressed to witness the team’s ability to rise above the fresh defeat and engage in the proper send-off Phil had become accustomed to. The gesture spoke volumes about what kind of mettle our 2010 team is made of, but it also speaks to the ability of a coach that can encourage an inordinate amount of team spirit that stretches beyond the limit, just like the MADD 2009 team (and probably every team that coach Denny infused his gift). It’s pretty tough to ignore the warmth in your heart that (not just a day) could easily be considered more of a ‘make a difference life’ can make.

Blissfield and the rest of the world could certainly benefit having more Denny’s in our lives, but aspiration to be more like him would be a fine ‘make due’ in the meantime. We can easily take a bunch of pointers about working together, thinking beyond ourselves and encouraging leadership wherever we can. The most amazing thing we can walk away with is the root reason why we would want to embrace each other – for the greater benefit of our interconnected lives.

Other Notable Make a Difference Day Participants in Blissfield:

October 21, 2005 marked a Make A Difference Day event that our Blissfield elementary school participated in by collecting, sorting, labeling and packaging 847 books through a charitable effort called “Boat Load of Books” for Motts Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor.

The Honorable Nick Smith paid tribute in the House of Representatives to four young constituents on April 23, 1998. Christi Stoker, Natalie Eisenmann, Amanda Nickolai and Stephanie Powell of Blissfield made a difference when they organized a coalition to donate books, games, wallpaper and other materials to a homeless shelter in Toledo, Ohio.

They also helped a mother and her daughter find a more permanent place to live from the shelter and also stayed in touch with the family after their move. These four girls were only 13 years of age. Read more here.

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