EAST LANSING – MEA member Jill Bischer’s fellow union members and local school families came to her side after her Midland home was severely damaged by May’s 500-year floods.
“It’s indescribable because you just feel it in your heart,” said Bischer, a speech and language pathologist in Midland schools. “You try to thank people, but words aren’t enough. Hugs aren’t enough.”
A photography buff, Bischer had written off boxes of wet and muddy pictures as trash, but her helpers — knowing the importance of her hobby — dipped the prints in distilled water and laid them on sheets spread out on her lawn to dry.
Crews of her teacher colleagues, their spouses and others provided food and equipment to haul belongings from her home.
Bischer’s story is one of countless examples of MEA members helping one another, their neighbors and communities following the disastrous floods. The work is in addition to ongoing efforts by Michigan’s public school employees to serve students, families and their communities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
MEA member Tiffany Bischoff is another case in point.
Bischoff lives just outside of Tawas City, where 8 inches of rain caused a pressure buildup against her basement walls, causing two of the walls to crack and water to flow into her home.
“It’s extremely overwhelming and stressful all while trying to deal with teaching from home and all of the changes happening with the recent COVID-19 pandemic,” Bischoff said.
“It’s been amazing to see all the different ways members are helping their colleagues,” said Jerry Lombardo, chair of the 12-B Coordinating Council and a middle school special education teacher. “I think that’s been the biggest thing about the union through all of this — it allows people to feel they’re not alone.”
MEA has launched a GoFundMe page to help members who suffered uncovered losses in several mid-Michigan counties. So far, the page raised more than $18,000.
Read more from MEA Editor Brenda Ortega at https://mea.org/harmed-by-history-flooding/.