"I retired from Healthcare as a Physician Assistant in 2006 and after a couple of years of being completely self absorbed and dealing with pretty significant health issues of my own, we (my wife and I) began to think about what the rest of our lives might look like. I was raised as a Matthew 25 kind of person by a mother who always stressed manners, helping people, sharing my blessings and things like that. I was very fortunate to have had a career that fed into that philosophy, but that wasn't there after I retired.
We joined a book group at our church and started reading Richard Rohr, Shane Claiborne, Peter Block, John McKnight and others and we started to be drawn to the inner city. The summer of 2013 the intern pastor at our church invited me to go to Grand Rapids to the annual conference of the Christian Community Development Association. I went to 2-3 of the workshops and the evening keynote speaker all talking about community development and social justice. I don't think I could come up with a single name of any of the speakers, but the day blew me away and changed my life. About 1-2 months later our pastor, Bill Uetricht on the Community enCompass board, stopped me and said "I have a couple of Taste and See tickets if you'd like to go" and we went.
Again, it was kind of a life changing experience. I was in the throws of trying to find something meaningful that would continue to give me purpose for my life and here was this organization that was striving for a partnership with the community to promote unity and strength through relationships and cooperation. I really liked making things and working with wood, so when I heard Kimi speak at one of the rehabs (I have no clue which one) I thought "This is something I'd really like to be a part of if they could use a fairly old guy with minimal skills." I was also completely taken with the passion and leadership of the organization as a whole, so after another month or two of getting my courage up, I showed up in Kimi's office and asked if there was anything I could do to help.
We met on Merrill Ave. in December and I walked into a really cute little house to find Kimi and three African-American teenagers tearing out walls up to their ankles in plaster and lathe and loved it. My life has been changed ever since".
-Bob Eichelberger has volunteered for community encompass as part of our home rehab team since 2013.
Taste & See is an annual progressive dinner & tour. Come and get a taste of what it's like to live, learn, work, grow and play here in Muskegon, come and experience the work God is doing in the Downtown Muskegon neighborhoods.
Tickets available for the 5th Annual Taste & See, Sept 27th HERE