Cliff Bichel lives in Michigan. He’s 34 years old, married, and has three amazing kids. He’s a good dad. A dad who sets aside plenty of time for new and grand adventures with each of his children. One of their favorites is raising chickens together. It’s important to Cliff that his kids learn constant and powerful lessons in life and love. So, each day the kids go out and collect any new eggs. Once enough of them have been gathered, the family loads into the car, and Cliff drives them down to the homeless shelter where the eggs are given to feed the less fortunate.
Cliff understands the power that one man will always have in making small differences in the lives of others. He understands that random acts of kindness spread. He understands that the small difference he can make in people’s lives will often lead to much bigger and permanent ones. He understands because he’s seen it. He understands because he lives it. Seven years ago, an idea came flying out of his mouth, which quickly materialized into something unexpected, beautiful, and worth repeating.
In 2003, Thanksgiving was approaching. Cliff had this little idea, which he shot by his church Reverend. It was far too late to put it together this year, he declared, but what if next year they put on a free Thanksgiving feast for the people of their community who could really use a good, hot meal. He was shocked when the Reverend jumped on the idea and encouraged him not to wait, but to find a way to do it that same year instead. With limited funds and even less time, Cliff accepted the challenge and decided to do whatever it took to make it happen.
He hit the pavement and collected sufficient donations from local businesses to cover his food and supplies. In record time, and with the help of others, he served up a free feast to those who needed that warmth, food, and good old human interaction. The invitation to attend was open to all, and there were many who answered the call. On the evening of the big event, his church’s Memorial hall filled with conversation, laughter, and the aroma of fresh roasted turkey. It was certainly a night to remember. There was not one person unwanted. There was not one person unwelcome. That first year, 225 meals were served.
But that wasn’t enough for Cliff. He looked at the steaming trays of food and began dishing up to-go platters. Nobody was going without that night. He loaded up his car and sped around the city, relying on his knowledge of the streets (which he had gained as a pizza delivery boy). He stopped at house after house, sharing a plate of warmth and deliciousness with all those who couldn’t leave their homes.
Yes, that night the city itself was smiling.
Cliff is a good man. And like many good men is very passionate. Sometimes people take that passion and label it as arrogance. He is very vocal when he thinks another person has been mistreated or harmed. He is quick to point out social or personal injustices or wrongdoings. Because of this, some call him hot-headed.
But Cliff is neither hot-headed nor is he arrogant. He is a humble man, especially considering his confidence, expertise, and wealth of knowledge in the culinary world. He understands that it takes many hands to create a masterpiece. He is responsible, compassionate, and selfless.
And more than anything, he loves others.
He would do just about anything for the people around him. During the winter he can often be found driving quietly in his car, looking for unshoveled driveways to help clear.
And, each year he has continued feeding those who need it. His Thanksgiving meals have become somewhat famous. He has never put stipulations on who is allowed to come, and each year the number grows. Each year he lines up health department inspections, donations from businesses, volunteers, and meals for those that are homebound. He does it year, after year, after year. He never asks for anything in return. He never expects anything in return. His reward is always intrinsic.
Sure, sometimes he’s quirky, just like any of us. He insists on washing his own knives after each use and personally putting them back in their cases. He constantly writes lists just to write lists. And he couldn’t care less about spelling. But, he is a good provider and an excellent father. He encourages and makes use of people’s talents, known and hidden. He is always happy to listen when someone needs an understanding ear. And, he always makes that Thanksgiving dinner happen.
Cliff really is a Saturday’s Hero.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
Many thanks to Jennifer for sharing her perspective and love for this man with me. Most Saturdays I spotlight one of my readers’ everyday heroes. The world is full of incredible, unsung, and inspirational people. They give their lives and time to others, they devote themselves to causes, they overcome obstacles, and they make us want to improve. Heroes come in many forms. Who was yours?
If you have a hero that you’d like me to spotlight, please send an email with the subject “This is my hero”. Sum up why they are a hero in 300 words or less. If I can spotlight them, I will write you back for follow-up information.