On a smokey day in November, we had the privilege to speak with Mickey Thibideau. Mickey will be receiving the first ADA home Hope City has built in Northern California. At the moment, he lives on the property with his daughter and her two children. Mickey uses a power wheel chair to get around and enjoys going down to the senior center most days for lunch. He’s affected by a disease which makes it difficult for him to stand and it also affects his speech. When we first sat down to talk to him about his experiences and what he’s excited for in his new home, he seemed nervous to talk, but quickly warmed up to us and started joking around.
Mickey lost his home in the Valley Fire of 2015 and came to Hope City through a different channel than some of our other home owners. When asked about what it was like to escape the fire and lose his home, he simply said, “It didn’t really register and it still really hasn’t, because everything I lost was all material.”
Since he is mostly restricted to a wheel chair to maneuver around, his home has a few minor changes to make it easier and more comfortable to live in. Shorter countertops, no over head storage, and wider frames for doorways so his chair can fit throughout his home. We asked him what sort of needs he had and he said, “Well my needs are very few, some days I can’t do anything.” That doesn’t stop him from keeping busy and problem solving using technology to keep up on his property. He told us a little about what his living situation is like at the moment. He had been staying in an RV but another medical issue made it nearly impossible for him to get in and out safely. “I modified my storage trailer so it’s wheelchair accessible to stay in. Anything they build into the house will be better than what I have now. I manage where I am at now.”
“What [Hope City are] doing is greatly appreciated. Sure appreciated by me, without them I don’t know where I would have turned. Had it not been for the disease I have, I would have built my own house. But a wheel chair don’t do good on ladders.” There’s a light about Mickey that makes his presence enjoyable and warm. His attitude is full of acceptance and moving forward.
The volunteers we’ve talked to have really enjoyed Mickey and his family. Mickey, though, has tried to stay out of their way. “All the volunteers have been really great. They all are very friendly I’ve met most of them on a personal basis. I stay out of their way so they can do what they enjoy doing. Helping people by doing whatever they can. It’s an inspiration to see them go out of their way to help people.”
There’s so much about Mickey and his family they we enjoy and we’re so happy to be working on their rebuild. We can’t wait to get him and his family into their home.