About five years ago, Wendell Gramlich’s wife, Carol, was at a local school in West Wayne County, Michigan, where she worked with a student who was no longer progressing with his school work and was falling asleep in class. Carol found out that over Christmas Break, this student had lost his bed and had been sleeping on the floor. When Carol came home, she mentioned this student to Carol and Wendell’s thirteen year old daughter. Their daughter asked how much a mattress would cost, and used some of her own savings to get this student a mattress. Staff at the school donated a headboard and a frame, and soon the student began to progress in his studies without issue.
In February 2018, Wendell watched Mike Rowe’s Facebook show ‘Returning the Favor’ and saw the episode with Sleep in Heavenly Peace. Wendell remembered that student from five years ago and thought, “If there was one child within a mile of our house that was sleeping on the floor, I’m sure there are more.” After attending a Chapter President Training in Idaho, Wendell and his chapter have thrown themselves into their new passion.
Their first delivery was a sobering experience for Wendell. The family was living in very poor conditions and had a very obvious need, and the joy in those kid’s faces when they got their new beds helped him know he was on the right track. As he has done additional deliveries, Wendell has learned that the needs of each family may not always be as visible, as that first family, but each child still shows that same joy at receiving a bed and at the knowledge that they don’t have to sleep on the floor anymore.
From there, Wendell and his chapter have experienced miracles happen in many different ways, from an individual’s willingness to pull out a checkbook and donate on the spot to a local business’ desire to donate and build 100 beds to deliver by Christmas. As more people hear about Sleep in Heavenly Peace and its mission, they will jump to be a part of it – and Wendell has some big plans for the future.