Ken Boden and his wife Pat were McDonald’s Owner/Operators in Grand Rapids. After learning that the nearest Ronald McDonald Houses were in Ann Arbor and Detroit, they set to work getting one started in West Michigan. To them, building a House seemed like a natural extension of the West Michigan community.
“When your child is sick, it’s horrifying. Your whole world crumbles, but you have to find firm ground. The House lets families do that. There are heart-breaking stories and heart-warming stories. The folks here understand that. People involved have either needed the House, or have been fortunate enough not to need the House, but understand it's importance.
West Michigan is such a giving community – it’s unbelievable. As people heard about it, everybody got excited. People gave their talent, time and treasure to make a dream come true. We ran two ads for volunteers, but had to cancel the second ad because we had 350 volunteers. Some of those folks are still there today. It’s family. It’s been a healthy, ongoing project since it opened, standing the test of time.
It been successful because of love. Tears. The volunteers. The stories that give you goose bumps. The grand feeling of helping. If you think the House is beautiful on the outside, you ought to see it on the inside – parents sitting around the table late in the evening, sharing their concerns, hope and fears. The real beauty is what takes place inside those walls.” ~ Ken Boden