From her post as crossing guard for Fremont Elementary School, Michele Reckel often waves to passing neighbors.
She doesn’t know most of the people who pass her on the corner of Union Boulevard and Del Paz Drive. But Michele said she’s naturally friendly and likes helping people.
“It’s how I’ve always lived my life,” she said. “It’s what the Lord tells us to do.”
You’d think they were best friends the way Michele sprang to action when she got word Scoti’s son, Army Ranger Sgt. 1st Class Kristoffer Domeij, had died serving in Afghanistan on Oct. 22.
Michele learned of the death from Bonnie Stonerock, who lives across the street. Bonnie lets Michele park in her driveway each day for her crossing guard shifts. And she knew Michele was married to a soldier and might have ideas for how to help Scoti.
“Bonnie told me Scoti’s roof is caving in and she wondered if there was any way we could get it repaired,” Michele said. “I told her I’d see what I can do.”
So Michelle turned to her husband, Warrant Officer Kelly Reckel of the Army Reserves, and they got busy.
“I knew there was no way the neighborhood could afford the roof,” Michele said. “So I started contacting the media for help.”
Contractors, roofing companies and others responded to her TV pleas. Gary Faver of Faver Roofing came out on Thursday and put a new roof on the modest house where Scoti lives and cares for disabled adults. All the materials were bought by Empire Staple Co. and Jim Wydra.
Bonnie Stonerock said she and the others want Scoti to know that in her time of grief, neighbors care.
“We are devastated for Scoti’s sake,” Bonnie said. “She’s such a giving person. She’s always willing to help anyone in need. We want her to know she’s not in this alone.”
For Michele, it was natural to help even though Scoti was just a face she waved at each day.
“My husband and I have taught our six kids that this is how you live,” Michele said. “We always help people in need.”
That includes years of making burritos and handing them out to homeless vets on cold winter weekends.
It means shoveling snow for elderly strangers. Hauling their trash.
And it means rallying folks to replace a roof for a grieving mother.
“Because of this, Scoti and I have gotten really close,” Michele said. “We cried together for half an hour. She’s a beautiful woman.”
I think Michele is pretty special, too. Next time you see her on her corner, helping kids cross Union safely, give her a wave.