HAZEL PARK — Various groups in Hazel Park have joined forces to pay for a new porch at the home of a local family, so a young woman with cerebral palsy can spend time outside with her family and friends. The new porch will also allow for the construction of a wheelchair ramp that will make it easier for her to get in and out of the house.
“Hazel Park will always help people,” said Hazel Park Mayor Pro Tem Jan Parisi. “As soon as someone has a problem, it seems like the whole community just wraps their arms around the individual.”
The woman is Mariah Loughry, 20, and the groups helping her include the local Lions Club, of which Parisi is a member, as well as the Knights of Columbus, the Hazel Park Police Department (HPPD) and the Hazel Park Fire Department (HPFD).
The benefit is a pancake breakfast at the Hazel Park Fire Department, 22830 Russell, from 9-11 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 27. The cost is $10 per person. The menu will include pancakes, sausage and drinks prepared by the firefighters themselves.
Following the breakfast is the Fire Open House, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The event features free cider and doughnuts, a Jaws of Life demonstration (for cracking open crashed cars), arts and crafts for the kids, a moonwalk, and an opportunity to try out fire gear, tackle a firefighting challenge and go through a smoke-training house. Firefighters will spray the hoses and let people climb inside the fire engines. There may even be a survival flight helicopter on display, if available.
Loughry, who is unable to walk or use her arms, requires assistance getting around. The Michigan Department of Community Health and the Macomb Oakland Regional Center (MORC) helped pay for a $13,300 lift to get her in and out of the car. Now, MORC has offered to pay for the construction of a wheelchair ramp leading into the house, provided the porch is fixed first.
The Lions Club, Knights of Columbus, HPPD and HPFD all agreed to raise the funds to pay for the porch. All four endorse the pancake breakfast at the HPFD.
“The firemen will do the cooking, and we’ll have red roses, Mariah’s favorite flower,” Parisi said. “It’s the cutest thing, seeing these big brawny guys (the firemen) fawning over (Loughry). They’ve really taken her to heart. I’m very emotional about it. My husband and I have known the Loughry family for a while, and we’re really excited and hope everything goes well.”
Peggy Burleson, secretary of the Hazel Park Lions Club, shared this sentiment. She’s lived in the city for 40 years and considers it a “family city” where people care.
“Hazel Park is a city that supports its residents,” Burleson said. “We always have.”
The pancake breakfast benefitting Mariah Loughry will take place at the Hazel Park Fire Department, 22830 Russell, from 9-11 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 27. The menu includes pancakes, sausages and drinks. Cost is $10 per person. The Fire Open House is 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and free to the public.