Community service boomerang effect seen in Montevideo

Kelly Snell, Special to USA Today

A note from the author, Kelly Snell: A wise friend once told me the secret to a long life is this: laugh often, forgive easily, and never stop serving others. As one of the last local surviving WWII veterans, Bill Homan, is a living example of this mantra, and he should be because it was Bill who shared it with me several years ago.

Bill Homan

At 95 years old Bill continues to serve his family, his church, and his community. He can often be found making and delivering homemade soup to shut-ins and sick neighbors, making his famous chili for church dinners, and regularly preparing and serving Wednesday night meals at Hope Reformed Church. Bill has also been part of the serving team at JumpStart, a high school student coffee and breakfast ministry at Hope Church, since its inception 9 years ago. Every Friday morning when school is in session, Bill delivers specialty coffee drinks to the 50-70 8th-12th grade students who attend JumpStart before school. But it’s really so much more than coffee for Bill. He makes a point to learn the students’ names and is the first to congratulate student-athletes on their endeavors. Bill often surprises a student by knowing their grandparents and sharing a silly story about life in Montevideo many years ago.

Students Bill served breakfast to at Jump Start had an early out and decided to show up at his home to help with fall clean-up and yard work.

It’s only right that Bill’s service to others boomeranged back to him this past Friday. Many of the same students he served breakfast to that very morning descended on his property at William and 13th Street to help with Fall clean-up and yard work. The students had an early dismissal day and chose to spend the afternoon raking and bagging leaves for Bill and his wife Barb. Nearly 40 bags of leaves were gathered and delivered to the compost and the Homan’s yard is now ready for winter. Bill’s example of lifelong service is driven by his faith and through it, he is influencing another generation of community servants.