Mechanicville Hero Turning Dreams into Reality
GNA's May Hometown Hero sounds like one of the most generous and kind men you'll want to know. His name is Jim Welch and he's from Mechanicville. Jim does something truly unique for children in need by offering up the gift of a comfortable place to sleep. Jim and a group of volunteers donate their time, energy and resources to literally make custom beds for kids.
Listen to the heartwarming phone call Brian and Chrissy made to Jim informing him that he's our latest GNA Hometown Hero.
Our May 2020 Hometown Hero was nominated by Beth Heffern. Here's what she wrote about Jim:
After retiring from 26 years of military service, Jim was looking for a new purpose - a new way to serve his community. Serving others is who he is.
After watching an episode of Mike Rowe's 'Returning the Favor', which featured the story of Sleep in Heavenly Peace (a non-profit which helps children without beds), he had found it! He was going to start a local chapter of SHP, to make sure children in the capital district had their own beds!
Starting with just a dream, he worked tirelessly to find the funds and volunteers necessary to start building beds for, and delivering beds to, kids in the areas covered by his Mechanicville chapter - everything within 17 miles of zip code 12118 (parts of Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Saratoga and Washington Counties).
Even with his own full time job and the responsibilities that come from being a dad of his own children (with extracurricular activities, to boot!), he still managed to lead his team of volunteers thru building and delivering beds to 205 kids throughout the Capital District - IN JUST ONE YEAR!
And he hasn't stopped! 2020 has seen him hold the first of many builds scheduled for the new year - already building six bunk beds to help twelve more kids get their own safe, warm, comfortable place to sleep! With close to 250 bed requests currently pending for his chapter, he is more driven than ever!
For his unending dedication to the service to others - first with the military and now with doing everything in his power to ensure 'No Kid Sleeps On The Floor In Our Town' - Jim Welch is the perfect example of a Hometown Hero. Just ask any of the people who he has motivated to join him in his new mission OR any of the 205 kids now sleeping in their own beds because he cared enough to make it happen!