There is a Gramazin spirit of compassion in Morgantown, WV.day o
It was evident from our first phone call to the city. It was also evident today as Chad and I visited the city, our first official stop on our Gramazin Journey. The people we met today were people who genuinely cared for their neighbors in need. Morgantown, WV would be a wonderful place to call home.
We left our home in West Chester, PA at the break of dawn. The drive along Rt. 68 through Maryland and West Virginia was gorgeous, as the mountains glistened with the frosting of newly fallen light snow.
We arrived at the West Virginia University Children’s Hospital at 12 pm. We were greeted in the lobby and escorted upstairs to the children’s floor. We had the pleasure to meet and interview Charmain Venter, a volunteer at the hospital who clearly reflects the heart the hospital has for children and the families who love them so much. We hand-delivered five Bumpes and books, a donation by Philadelphia, PA area toy designer Christopher Carlson. We ask for special prayers for Quinton, Sabrina, and Noah, three dear children who are currently patients in the hospital.
It was encouraging to hear the stories of how many residents of Morgantown and students at West Virginia University volunteer at the children’s ward because they care. The hospital has clearly made a major investment to not only the care of children from all over Maryland and West Virginia but also to their parents who struggle with the fears and medical decisions they must face every day.
After leaving the hospital, Chad and I visited Kroger grocery store to pick up the groceries we needed to prepare a Shepherd’s Pie meal at the Ronald McDonald House. The employees at Kroger’s were friendly, gracious and helpful. It was a fantastic blessing when Kroger donated the groceries we need for the residents of the home. Thank you very much, Kroger!
We would like to give a special thanks to Sarah, an employee in the bakery at Kroger. She did an amazing job designing the cake to reflect the Gramazin mission – our desire to gather inspirational stories from across America. Great job, Sarah! It was a pleasure to meet you!
We arrived at the Ronald McDonald House around 3 pm. Chad and I were there to cook a meal for 30-40 guests. However, we were greeted by a reporter and a photographer from The Dominion Post and a reporter from WBOY, channel 12 in Clarksburg, WV. Steve DeJesus, the Executive Director of the Ronald McDonald House, had spread the word about our desire to gather 10,000 inspirational stories. We are very thankful for all of them for sharing with the residents of northern West Virginia our mission to inspire people who have lost hope.
Steve shared with us a sampling of the many inspirational stories that are associated with the Ronald McDonald house. Just like Charmain, Steve offered to help Gramazin collect stories in the coming weeks for publishing on the Gramazin Morgantown WV city page.
Tomorrow, we will attend a local church and tour Morgantown, capturing more of the heart of the community, before heading back to West Chester.
The people we met today in Morgantown, WV are truly Gramazin!
WBOY West Virginia
The Dominion, Morgantown, WV
We enjoyed a very nice stay at the Hampton Inn, 1053 Van Voorhis Road, Morgantown, West Virginia. The room was very clean and stylish, the Internet worked great, and our breakfast was delicious. Special thanks to Bekah Gillespie, Director of Sales, who extended to Chad and I a complimentary night’s stay as an act of compassion for the folks at the Ronald McDonald House.
Chad and I also enjoyed a delicious dinner at Applebee’s, which is adjacent to the hotel, after we cooked dinner for the folks at the Ronald McDonald House last night. I enjoyed the Napa Chicken and Portobellas and Chad enjoyed the Signature Sirloin with Garlic Herb Shrimp. Both of our meals were under 550 calories! The staff demonstrated true professionalism as they made sure everything was great, not only for us, but also for the other guests.
Charmain Venter, the volunteer we met at the West Virginia University Children’s Hospital yesterday, invited us to attend services this morning at theSuncrest United Methodist Church. It was our pleasure to accept her invitation. How could we turn her down? The church is also next door to the Hampton Inn.
We were greeted warmly by a team of ushers and greeters. I am certainly not a music expert but it seemed to my ear the members of the worship team were talented and passionate about their faith. What struck me personally was how both of the pastors conveyed genuine compassion for people in need. The pastor invited us to have further conversations about how Gramazin can work with the church to inspire people in Morgantown, WV who have lost hope.
“Nancy”, an attendee at the church today, whoever you are, thank you! Chad and I were talking hours later about our private conversation with you after the service. It is people like you that make it easier for Chad and I to do what we want to do to help others in need. God bless you!
After the church service, Chad and I drove around Morgantown before we left the city. We look forward to making contact with many of the businesses in town over the next few weeks, promoting the startups and small businesses that are trying to help people improve their lives.
As we drove back to West Chester, PA, there was something drawing both Chad and I to the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, PA. I am certain it was the ultimate sacrifice of those who did their part to save the US Capitol from destruction on one of the darkest days in American history. Chad and I wanted show our respect by visiting the place where the voices of inspiring men and women fell silent on September 11, 2001. The excursion turned what should have been a four hour trip to get home into an eight hour marathon, thanks to the Pennsylvania Turnpike having traffic problems. However, we were pleased to take the extra time to honor the lives of the victims of Flight 93.