Posted by: Rice on the Side- Rice Insurance, LLC | September 19, 2012

Home, Sweet Home

Jerry Bajema - A Home for Jerry

A good Neighbor is a priceless treasure.”           -Chinese Proverb

Currently in Whatcom County the words “Love Thy Neighbor” are being put into practice in its truest form. Neighbors are putting aside differences to help a man that exemplifies neighborly kindness in the most selfless way.

Almost 3 months ago Jerry Bajema was working at his home, cutting down a tree limb when suddenly his chainsaw kicked back, severing his left arm and bringing him near death. Through strength and determination Jerry was able to go inside and call 911.

As ambulances left his property, neighbors Laurie Lewis and her husband became deeply concerned. Laurie went to the hospital and found out that Jerry nearly severed his arm by 90%. After a short stay in St. Joe’s Hospital, Jerry was then sent to Harborview in Seattle for surgery to reattach his arm.

After visiting Jerry at the hospital, Laurie offered to help take care of his dogs and home while he was in the hospital. Upon arriving at Jerry’s home, Laurie was almost in disbelief at what she saw. His nearly 100 year old home was in very rough shape, falling apart and charred black from a kitchen fire that took place two years prior (of which Jerry never mentioned or asked for help from friends or neighbors). His home was also without heat or electricity and in desperate need of repairs that Jerry simply could not afford.

This is where things take a turn and become one of the most inspiring and heart-warming stories of the year in our community. Laurie and other surrounding neighbors decided to put all of their differences aside and help out Jerry; a man who so selflessly devotes himself to the aid of his neighbors, friends, and community.

Laurie felt so strongly in her heart that something needed to be done and that Jerry could not return to live in a home in this condition.

With lots of rallying and hard work by Laurie and neighbors, she was able to gather community support and resources to help have a new septic system and home built for Jerry. Meshak Drew of Squalicum Builders donated and led the project that took place last weekend (Sep. 15th) to build the new home for Jerry. Unbeknownst to Laurie and neighbors, this wasn’t the first time that Squalicum Builders had donated their services to help someone in the community. Two years ago Meshak Drew helped a gentleman, Wayne, by building him a home, saving him from being homeless since the city was going to condemn his old home for being unsafe.

Construction of Jerry’s new home amazingly took place over the course of one day to build the framing of the home. Watch this amazing time lapse video of the heart-warming project.

Jerry has always been there for his neighbors, be it plowing driveways, mowing grass, lending a helping hand with yard work or any other tending-to.  But sometimes bad things happen to good people; however, good things often happen to them too. This is definitely one of those instances where we can celebrate the good things in life. A pay it forward instance, indeed.

Jerry Bajema - A Home for Jerry

We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”    – Sir Winston Churchill

There is still a ways to go and more help is needed to help this amazing project for an amazing person.

  • To learn more about Jerry’s story, the incredible man behind it all, or to follow his progress click here.
  • To learn more about how you can help through donation or volunteering click here.
  • To follow upcoming fundraising events click here.

Upcoming Fundraising Event – Saturday September 23rd, 2012 at 3pm: There will be a benefit concert held at Mount Baker High School with a great lineup of performers. $10.00 at the door.


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