DETROIT – Jacob Barlett cleans homes to help families with children who have cancer, and John Richardson turned a national tragedy into a local act of kindness.
Both were honored by MLK 50 Forward for embodying the spirit of its campaign encouraging people to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by making a positive impact on their communities. They were selected from dozens of pledges of kindness and received tickets to the Ford Fireworks Rooftop Party on June 25.
Barlett's pledge comes from the personal tragedy of losing a son to leukemia. That terrible experience led him to help other families dealing with cancer. He wrote:
“The act of kindness or service project for myself along with fellow team members is to provide a cleaning service for any family that has / had a child with cancer. We provide this service to these families at no cost, since these children and families do not fight cancer alone. This is service project is open to any family that is currently living in the Metro Detroit and Ann Arbor area; along with the families that must relocate to these areas due to their child having cancer. When we go in and clean their homes, we will use hospital grade disinfectant and bleach on the areas which we can. Thus the families and children know when we clean it will be as clean as it can be for them, with the parents not having to worry about germs and the like; when their child comes home from the hospital.”
Richardson's pledge came in response to his personal sadness over police officers killed in Dallas. He heard the news on a hot day and decided he needed to do something positive. He bought water bottles and took them to a bus stop on Gratiot Avenue where people were waiting in the heat. Three years later, he hasn't stopped giving away water to people on Gratiot Avenue between Mount Clemens and 8 Mile Road, going out three days per week during the summer months.
"The last two years I delivered over 1,000 bottles a year to thirsty bus riders and people in need," he wrote in his pledge.
Barlett and Richardson's pledges are part of the worldwide campaign, which runs through Aug. 28. You can make your pledge using the form below. Entries are eligible for prizes and may be featured on ClickOnDetroit.com and WDIV-TV.