Inspire me – Field’s Hill Helping Hands

Today we meet Karen Janisch.  Karen is a nurse just like my mom.  She is compassionate and caring, has a family of her own and (just like everybody else) leads a busy life.  I was fortunate enough to meet this lovely lady and ask her a few questions recently about Field’s Hill Helping Hands or FHHH. (Karen below right pictured with her daughter Shaelyn and husband Alan).

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What made you want to start the FHHH group and what was your initial thought when you heard about the Fields Hill accident where 24 people lost their lives?  “FHHH was born after the horrific accident on Fields Hill in September 2013. The loss and pain of the people involved in the accident was felt by many within the community.  Like many of us (who utilize Fields Hill everyday) I thought ……”It could have been me“.  A group of us were having a discussion about how we could assist the people involved in the accident and their families. It kind of took off from there.” Pictured below left: Rob Greaves another amazing FHHH committee member. Photo taken during a food and blanket drop-off.

2014-02-02_0002 2014-02-02_0003 2014-02-02_0004 Karen and her team immediately jumped into action!  They managed to track down a few of the remaining survivors who were in hospital to offer support as well as food parcels and supplies.  They then found every single family that was affected and started regular food drop-offs with generous assistance from the public.

2014-02-02_0005 The families were not alone – there were regular meetups and soon each family became part of the larger FHHH family.

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You have really done an extraordinary thing by helping these families. Many of those who passed away in the accident were the breadwinners in the family. Can you share with us one of the stories that you found particularly moving?  “Alan and I drove to meet a family down the South Coast. His wife had been killed in the accident. We were delivering his food parcels, clothes, toys and nappies for the children. We often get the impression that a man is as hard as nails, but this poor man broke down in tears many times and kept asking us “What must I do?”. He showed us how he and his wife had built a house together and all they were going to achieve together.  I could just feel this lump in my throat as I related to his story.  I look at him today and he has done a brilliant job filling in as mom and dad.  His four children are his life.”

2014-02-02_0007  “Over Christmas last year each of our 65 children were blessed with Santa Shoe Boxes. We had sponsored jumping castles, a dear friend did a magic show with balloons shaped into animals and there was face painting.”

2014-02-02_0008 2014-02-02_0009 You have a lot on your plate with a full time job, a family of your own and also the Fields Hill initiative.  What keeps you committed to the Fields Hill families? “When I take something on, I do it to my best potential, no matter what or I shouldn’t be doing it in the first place!  My family have been a great support, especially my husband.”

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What are some of your most special moments when you look back on this FHHH journey?  “There have been many….for me its been building relationships irrespective of race or creed.  Seeing these people day by day, work through their issues and reach for the sky. That broken look turn into joy, the tears of sadness turn into a smile. They are wonderful people all with different needs and issues but all after the same thing…….LOVE.”

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What projects are you currently involved in?  “FHHH continues to offer our families support. This year we are aiming at assisting our families with their RAF claims and seeking employment.”

2014-02-02_0013 2014-02-02_0016 2014-02-02_0015 What do you do when you have some downtime? “I love reading, but as I have gotten older, I tend to fall asleep. I love gardening, sewing and being creative.”

2014-02-02_0014 To follow the latest on FHHH you can find more information on their facebook page.

Comments

  1. WOW! This is such an amazing story – well done to Karen and the FHHH Team…

  2. Amazing story!!!! Well done to all involved!!!

  3. JESHIKA MAHARAJ says:

    Wow…what awesome photography and Karen you are super woman

  4. My goodness this story is awe inspiring and proves that there is so much love caring and sense of community out there.
    Well done to everyone for their commitment.

  5. Powerful images I keep on wanting to look at over and over. Well done Alexis and thank you for your passion and love for being involved with us.

  6. I have such mixed emotion, happy but sad at the same time.
    Beautiful pictures and such a heartfelt story, you have captured smiles and laughter brought together by such a terribly tragic event!

  7. Karen Janisch says:

    Alexis is a very special young lady who capturd some amazing momnets of what a community can accomplish during a time of such saddness and pain.
    It has been both an honor and priveledge to have had you on board as a team member.

    You have now become a beautiful mother with an amzing family.

    Dont give up what you are good at.

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