By Vinde Wells
The (Sterling) Daily Gazette
POLO — Amy Beard was “shocked and blown away” when a group of teens from an Evanston church offered to paint her house and spruce up her yard.
Beard has had lupus for 38 years, and said she “can’t do much,” and her husband, Paul, is a full-time meat cutter who mows yards on the side to help make ends meet.
“I don’t think it would have got done otherwise,” she said as she watched the 12- to 14-year-olds and the adults who joined them bustling around her yard with rakes, shovels, hammers, and paint brushes.
Mike McGuire, who grew up in Polo and now lives in Evanston, was behind the project. His mother, Julie McGuire, was one of Beard’s teachers at Polo High School, back when she was Amy Faber.
He brought the Evanston United Methodist Church youth group and their leaders back to his hometown to paint the exterior of Beard’s home and do yard work.
They worked for 3 days, getting two coats of paint on the house, trimming and removing bushes, raking, and planting perennials and annuals.
They stayed overnight at the McGuire farm in rural Polo.
“We’re trying to brighten Amy’s life,” McGuire said.
He also enlisted the help of local volunteers, including Dave and Laurie Sherrick, their daughter, Emily, and others. In all, about 20 people helped.
The youth group does a service project every summer, usually in Rockford, but this year, its leaders wanted to make the experience more personal.
“We wanted them to get to know the people we are serving,” McGuire said.
He consulted his classmate, Dave Sherrick, who told him of Beard’s situation.
“First I was shocked, but I shouldn’t have been, knowing Mike and the Sherricks,” Beard said. “They define what a true Christian should be.”
She also praised the teens’ hard work and willingness.
“It’s already done, and it’s beautiful,” she said. “We’re so blessed and grateful. We’re just humbled that someone would do this for us.”