Interested in becoming a volunteer? Let us know through a simple form on our website. How easy is that?
Last week, on a sunny, warm evening in September, we held our incredibly successful annual Endowment Fund Awareness Raffle. Although the tickets said, “Need Not Be Present to Win,” a few people were there to watch or help with the event. It struck me how wonderful it was that one of our youngest volunteers, Haydn, was doing the drawing, while one of our veteran supporters, Martha, was also there, cheering her on.
Haydn is just seven years old, but we’ve honestly lost count of how many times she’s volunteered for Hunter Hospitality House or represented us in the community. We call her an HHH Baby, because her parents stayed at our McLaren Port Huron location when she was born 7 weeks early.
Martha Koerber is in her 90s. When she learned about our plans to open HHH in 2011, she asked for a meeting with me. “What can I do regularly to help?” she asked and suggested making cookies. “That’s perfect!” I exclaimed, with no idea at all that she’d still be making those cookies for us all these years, every week.
Recently, Haydn had a school project called a Bag Biography. She had to take 5 items that described things about her. One of them was a thank you card she’d received from me after representing HHH at the Fourth of July parade in Lexington. Her mother said, “Just wanted to share that your house made an impact on her even before she could talk.”
In addition to the cookies, Martha participates and attends all our events. She adopted a room at the 10th Street location, and with the help of her family and friends, furnished and decorated it beautifully. She’s a regular donor and an integral member of our volunteer team, helping with mailings, open houses and more. Martha is appreciated so much, we created the M. Martha Koerber Volunteer of the Year Award in her honor!
Haydn and Martha are living proof that when you find a cause you’re passionate about, you will find a way to do what you can, when you can, to support it, no matter what your age. We’re blessed beyond measure that they’re both so enthusiastic about HHH, and we hope their devotion and volunteerism is an inspiration.
Interested in becoming a volunteer? Let us know through a simple form on our website. How easy is that?
I can talk about HHH and what we do until I'm blue in the face, but there's really nothing like hearing from our guests themselves. All our houses have books where guests can leave a note about their stay, which are not only a joy for us to read but are also very helpful for subsequent guests. Knowing someone has gone through a similar medical experience is of great comfort. We also get thank you cards, texts...all kinds of affirming words to know that HHH is an essential service in our community. Find more great guest testimonies on our Facebook page! facebook.com/hunterhospitalityhouse
This guest came to us from Ohio!
Because HHH was founded in memory of our premature baby, Hunter, young parents are very special guests to us!
Such a sweet post script!
I didn't just love this text sent to my husband from a guest because she said I was beautiful...but it didn't hurt! ;)
Some people just really deserve to lay around on a hammock. Dennis and Debbie Pluff won this wonderful prize in our Hope Blooms from Home fundraiser, and it couldn’t have happened to two better people--especially when you consider that Dennis is lucky to be alive.
Debbie and her son, Scott, stayed at Hunter Hospitality House while Dennis was in the hospital after spending 17 hours on Lake Huron in 2019. Read more about that incredible story here:
Enjoy that hammock, Dennis and Debbie! You deserve to rest!
And thank you for supporting HHH through Hope Blooms from Home!
The new Hunter Hospitality Family House is open ahead of schedule, and ready to provide free hospital lodging for parents with children.
The Family House is a part of the Hunter Hospitality House non-profit organization, founded in 2011. Co-Founders Jeff and Tracy Willard established the charity in memory of their infant son, Hunter, who passed away at 16 days of age in 1991. The charity provides free lodging for patients and loved ones needing to stay near a hospital in Port Huron.
Hunter Hospitality House has two bed and breakfast style homes next to each hospital in Port Huron. The new Family House is a single unit home designed to give parents with children a much more private refuge. Guests will find a fully stocked kitchen and laundry room; sleeping accommodations for up to 6 people, plus a crib; and complimentary hygiene products.
“We couldn’t have opened the Family House without the community’s generosity,” said Tracy Willard. “A lot of companies donated time and services. They believe in our mission, and we’re so grateful for their help with this expansion.”
Representatives from the companies who donated time and services for renovating the Hunter Hospitality Family House gathered for a photo at the home early in June. They included Superior Heating and Cooling, Blue Water Door, Huron Inspections/Mold Removal, Watson Brothers Plumbing, Ron Lowe Construction, Home Depot, Shane Hernandez, LiUNA! Local 1075, Rock-N-Wood, Stephenson Electric, Zimmer Roofing, Independent Flooring, Kimball Appliance, Golden Choice, and Donna’s Storage.
A ribbon cutting for Hunter Hospitality Family will be held later this year, on December 7, which is the organization's 10th anniversary and what would have been Hunter’s 30th birthday. For more information about Hunter Hospitality House, and for volunteering and donation inquiries, please call 810-824-3679 or visit hunterhospitalityhouse.com.
Springtime is amazing for Hunter Hospitality House, and summer’s wonderful, too—all because of the gardens and well-kept lawns.
Who Does All of That Work?!
A quick list of volunteers who regularly help with off the top of my head would include names like Jean, Matt, Dominic, Hannah, Adam, Scott, Lynn, Steve, Paul, Rick and Rebecca. It would also include groups like St. Mary’s Youth Group, Eastern Michigan Thumb Association and Blue Water Choices.
Truth is, there are many, many more. We’re blessed to have many people reach out to us and ask how they can help make our Hunter Hospitality Houses beautiful.
What Exactly Are Volunteers Doing Outside?
Just like your house, our places need planting, weeding, trimming, mowing, edging, watering and mulching. Our volunteers’ contributions of time, talent and supplies mean HHH doesn’t have to pay companies to do the work. That allows us to use donor funds right where they’re needed—providing free lodging and abundant amenities.
Three locations--beautiful homes. Three yards. Numerous garden areas. It’s a lot of ground to cover. Takes a village!
So, when does this magic take place? Well, that’s the cool thing about outdoor volunteering. You do what you want when you want to. Seriously.
If you’re interested in starting, adding to, or just maintaining a garden, let us know. We’ll meet with you for a few minutes at your convenience, showing you the yard of whichever location, you’d like. Just give us a call at 810-824-3679 and leave a message. After your first meeting with us, you’re free to work whenever it’s best for you.
Guests often tell us that they feel more peaceful and calmer about their circumstances after they’ve sat outside, enjoying an HHH garden. And there’s science behind that.
According to an article on mentalfloss.com called 11 Scientific Reasons Why Being in Nature is Relaxing, “A study by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health found that a natural environment allowed people to leave the stressors of their everyday lives behind and instead focus their minds on something more pure. By centering your mind, you can relax your body.”
*Note I have not verified the existence of that study…seems right to me, though! 😊
Ditch the Perfectionism
Are the yards and gardens perfect at the Hunter Hospitality Houses? Not always.
For example, we choose not to use donor dollars in watering the grass frequently, so it gets kind of yellow in the heat of the summer.
Sometimes the weeds get a bit out of control, too. But just about the time we start worrying about them, another volunteer seems to call and ask to help.
I’m Reading Your Mind
You’ve made it this far into my blog about our amazing green thumb volunteers, and you’re starting to think you’d like to join the team, too. Maybe.
But I think I know what you’re thinking. What’s in it for me?
Check out that full article I referenced above. There are numerous benefits to your health and body to working outside. https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/60632/11-scientific-reasons-why-being-nature-relaxing
Not to mention the mental benefits of volunteering, which are also well documented. You’ll basically be a superhero…healthy, happy, and worthy of big-time bragging rights.
We’re looking forward to hearing from you!
A huge thank you goes out to all of the volunteers who helped with fall clean up and house renovations! We sincerely appreciate the hard work our community pours into the homes and yards, making it possible for us to always provide medical lodging and amenities for FREE at Hunter Hospitality House!
In a year dominated by catastrophes and controversies, it’s nice to share some good news.
Hunter Hospitality House, Inc., a local organization providing free lodging and amenities in two locations near both hospitals in Port Huron, is growing. We’ve acquired a ranch style home next door to their Lake Huron Medical Center location, at 1015 Vanderburgh Place, to be called Hunter Hospitality Family House.
“We’ve long talked about wanting to help those who need to stay near the hospital, and also have children,” explained Tracy Willard, the Executive Director of Hunter Hospitality House. “Our other homes, with their bed and breakfast style accommodations, are ideal for adults. However, this house will be perfect for a family to stay in, alone, assuring they will have the freedom to relax and attend to their children in a private setting.”
Although the house is conveniently across from Lake Huron Medical Center, HHH can also provide guests with the transportation they may need to McLaren Port Huron.
“There’s a lot of work to be done inside and outside of the Family House before we can open,” Willard said. “We’ll need the help of roofing, flooring, construction, and landscape professionals, for sure. It is our hope that many people will reach out to us and donate their time and talent. We’ve had so many wonderful volunteers through the years. It’s been beautiful how our community has embraced our mission since we opened that first house in 2011, and the second in 2013.”
Hunter Hospitality House, Inc. was formed in 2011 in memory of Hunter Eldon Willard, the late son of founders Jeff and Tracy Willard. Our mission is to provide a complimentary home away from home, steps away from the hospital, for those in need of restoration while either comforting a loved one or receiving treatment themselves.
HHH’s goal is to open the new location on December 7 of 2021, which will be the organization’s 10th anniversary. “That gives us over a year to work on the renovations, involving a lot of volunteers in a safe manner with COVID-19 precautions,” said Willard. That day would also have been their son Hunter’s 30th birthday.
If you would like to contribute your time, talent or treasure for Hunter Hospitality Family House, or the organization itself, visit our website at hunterhospitalityhouse.com, email them at email@example.com, or call them at 810-824-3679.
Hunter Hospitality House has acquired a third house. It's located next to one of our current houses, across from Lake Huron Medical Center. This home at 1015 Vanderburgh Place will become the first Hunter Hospitality Family House, which will allow a single family including children to stay close to a loved one requiring medical treatment at no cost to them. Our goal is to open in late 2021.
See Times Herald Article HERE
Considering a stay at Hunter Hospitality House in Port Huron during a family medical crisis? Read on to see how they’re keeping people safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Normally providing bed-and-breakfast style lodging with numerous guests, HHH has temporarily transitioned into a rental home model. Only one family resides in the houses at a time, eliminating any concern of shared spaces or social distancing. During their stay, staff and volunteers have minimal to no interaction with the guests on site. Between guests, volunteers are cleaning and sanitizing to the highest CDC requirements while wearing gloves and masks.
Social distancing has been extended to the registration process, too. Guests are emailed a link to fill in a Google Form, which normally would have been done in person with the manager. “It was quick and easy, and I did it from the comfort of my own home, at my convenience,” said a guest who recently completed the process in advance of her stay.
Guests are asked to check their temperature and complete a pre-screening health assessment in advance of their stay, and every day throughout. If a volunteer or staff member has to be onsite, masks are available and required. Sanitizing stations are at each entryway.
As always, Hunter Hospitality House is filled with an abundance of amenities, and all guests stay for free. “Despite these new protocols, we are still offering what we’ve always provided: rest for the weary and heavy hearted,” said Tracy Willard, Executive Director of HHH. Adults with a hospitalized loved one, treatment of their own, or an early morning surgery are welcome to stay at HHH.
To make a reservation or ask questions, call the HHH Manager, Jeff Willard, at 810-990-9956. More information is available at their website, hunterhospitalityhouse.com.
Five tables of 8 are currently available for Hope Blooms 2020, to be held on August 26. Be sure to let us know ASAP if you'd like to attend, before those seats are gone!