For much of his life, Gerry Tierney has been the one doing the helping. He volunteered his carpentry skills during the Big Fix-A-Thons in Bourne, Harwich, and Falmouth. A retired registered nurse, he was a member of the Parish Nurse Ministries of Cape Cod, organizing CPR classes at area churches. And he has donated his home-grown vegetables to local food pantries on the Cape.
But when Gerry had triple bypass surgery in June, followed by a stroke two days later, all his service projects were put on hold so he could heal. “I know because I’m alive, I have a mission,” he said, seated with his wife Juliet in their Centerville home. “I’m trying to find it again.”
When you’re the one who so eagerly helps others, asking for help can be difficult. But that is exactly what the Tierneys did when they applied to this year’s Big Fix-A-Thon in Centerville and Hyannis. Shortly after he got out of the hospital, Gerry learned that he and his wife were chosen as one of 16 recipients of this year’s fundraising day of service. “It was so uplifting,” he said.
“I’ll tell you, my husband was the consummate do-it-yourselfer,” Juliet said. “Over the years, he’s done a lot of do-it-yourself tasks and other things that are now difficult for us to do. He doesn’t have the strength to be able to do things around the house.”
On October 5, a group of Big Fix-A-Thon volunteers will spend a few hours fixing the front steps, fixing and painting his deck, repairing the outdoor fence, and general yardwork – things that Gerry once loved to do himself.
Celebrating more than 45 years of marriage, the couple have lived in this home since 1999. The Big Fix-A-Thon will allow them to safely enjoy it in the later years of their life. It will be particularly meaningful after all that Gerry has faced in recent months.
“We are really humbled by this,” Juliet said. “The fact that you are willing to help us with these things gives us a breath of fresh air and it’s wonderful to see the house taken care of.”
Learn more about this year’s Big Fix-A-Thon and the 16 homeowners who will be helped on October 5 by clicking this link.