March 24th, 2017
My name is Jessica Greb and I am the Director of Operations at Ronald McDonald House Charities Eastern WI (RMHC). My primary role is to care for any facility related situation that may arise on a daily basis while ensuring the RMHC property is safe and accessible for all family guests, visitors, volunteers, and staff at all times. Many days I find myself walking around, inspecting areas of this 80,000+ square foot House. As I walk, I often ask myself, “What would these walls tell me if they could talk?”
Can you imagine the stories they would tell about the past 32 years? I would like to think that within these walls, we became someone’s sanctuary, a place where hope thrives and love never fails.
Imagine being overwhelmed with big emotions and having to uproot your family to an unfamiliar place full of unfamiliar faces. Life has become chaotic and you need to find a place to remind you what it feels like to be calm and physically and mentally present with those around you.
The walls of RMHC have been holding families up for over three decades. These walls have seen insurmountable grief and debilitating sorrow. They have been there to absorb the words, “malignant” and “we have done all that we can”. They have been there soak up the tears when they are overflowing and have nowhere else to go. They have been there to support more than 40,000 family stays from families residing in all 50 states and 37 countries around the world.
These walls have also been there to hear glorious words like, “remission” and “benign”. They have heard one of the most beautiful sounds in the world…the laughter of children playing in our playroom. They have heard sweet music being played on the piano in our Great Room by a Dad rejoicing in good news. They have absorbed the delicious flavors of the meals that are made in our kitchens. They have been decorated by the most brilliant young artists, creating masterpieces in our Art Therapy room. These walls have witnessed complete strangers supporting with each other on days when a simple hug went a long way.
Our walls exist because of the generous support we receive from so many partners in our community – individuals, corporations, schools, churches, organizations and foundations. Working together we can keep families close when they need it most.
So I guess you could say that the answer to the question, “What would these walls tell me if they could talk?” is that these walls provide hope. They are a sanctuary to many who need the strength that only a Ronald McDonald House can provide.