'100 Men Who Care' Honors Late Homer Man
The Gary Thomas 100 Men Who Care group aims to continue good works.
Earlier this month MAPP (map) of the Southern Kenai Peninsula held a virtual annual meeting, bringing together representatives from a dozen associated agencies to share news of their programs. One was relatively new: 100 Men in Homer Who Care. Organizer Bob Shavelson told of how the organization rose from tragedy.
"One of the great people that I came to know and love was Gary Thomas and I don't think I'm alone, a lot of people loved Gary and he was a real fixture in our community. And when he tragically died in January 2020, I was a member of the Kachemak Bay Rotary Club and Gary was very active there and we looked around and said what can we do to carry on Gary's Legacy? And we looked at this great project that was already up and running the 100 women who care project and we felt, why not do a Gary Thomas hundred men project," he said.
MAPP stands for “Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships,” and MAPP of the Southern Kenai Peninsula (SKP) is a community coalition that helps develop and support a long-term vision of community well-being. Shavelson says the 100 Men project fit nicely in that umbrella.
"This overlaps with the MAPP program very well because there's certainly a social element we're connecting people to this place. There's a spiritual element where you give people that sense of purpose and and belonging and then the emotional component, you know that personal enrichment you get by giving back to the place that you love and the people that you live among," Shavelson said.
In the past year, the 100 Men project has helped several groups, including one near to Thomas.
"The first organization that we chose to give to was a new group called The South Peninsula firefighters Association and this group is putting the money to training volunteer firefighters. And this was the cause that was near and dear to Gary's heart. And so folks will get trained, for example, in cold water rescue," Shavelson said.
That was one of the things they singled out there. Patrice Krantz of the 100 Women Who Care, which inspired the 100 Men, also reported on its charitable activities.
"Our most recent donation went to the Homer Soil and Water Conservation District. We helped them to renovate and move from their tiny little squished office, to the Blackberry Building, where they have lots of room for all of their people and their work," she said.
Find more information about MAPP and the programs it supports and its other projects, check out MAPP of SKP (mappofskp.net).