We held a farewell for Mary Penner on January 22, 2019.
That morning was the last time we refurbished wheelchairs together.
At lunch we shared various memories.
We plan to create a video later with ideas Mary had about how to clean and polish wheelchairs.
We plan to continue Wheelchair of Hope activities.
Below is what Mary wrote for our 32nd Newsletter.
On Saturday, September 29, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of Wheelchairs of Hope becoming an NPO.
The actual date chosen for the event was probably inconsequential for most of those who attended, but for me it held great significance. My journal entry for September 28, 2000 (18 years and one day earlier) shows it as the day I stopped just thinking about people needing wheelchairs. I took the first step. That was the day I picked up the phone and made the first phone calls. One of the people I called that day continues to make an annual gift covering half the cost of shipping a container all these years later.
In my family, the 18th birthday celebration is significant because it marks the year when a child will spreads their wings as parents step back. I watched two of my children leave home and move away to attend university. My son Daniel however stayed home until later when he then moved into a group home in California. For fifteen years my husband and I made regular trips back to visit Daniel but this past summer it became clear that Daniel needed more of our attention. So it is a bittersweet time as we say goodbye to our home in Japan and the many people we care about so deeply and move near to Daniel.
I look back on God’s goodness in bringing so many people together working to grow the project to where it is today. I am grateful for the first yellow wheelchair Japan gave my son all those years back in Yamagata. And today, words lack the power to express how indebted I feel to those who have graciously served on the board of directors, worked as staff, volunteered, and partnered by donating funds, skills, finances, and services to Wheelchairs of Hope.
Thank you all for the difference you have made in my life. Thank you for the difference you continue to make in each other’s lives, and in the lives of many throughout Asia who now have a wheelchair.
With all my heart,
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