If you volunteered during the Life Remodeled project in Denby, you may remember Sarah-Rae Andreski standing on the tailgate of her father’s aging pickup truck, her navy blue Life Remodeled T-shirt sleeves rolled to the shoulders, aviator sunglasses and work boots; her drill sergeant-style voice booming instructions above the din of lawn mowers, heavy-duty construction equipment and the squeal of hydraulic brakes of school buses delivering the next group of volunteers to her command center.
Sarah-Rae is a Life Remodeled Project Week regular, faithfully working sunup to sundown daily – sometimes longer – since the 2013 North End project, which she signed up for after watching the Life Remodeled recruitment video at Woodside Bible Church in Troy. She thought her role would be to deliver water to volunteers that year but instead she ended up shepherding many of the 1,000 Quicken Loans volunteers.
“I remember being in this field and having no idea what I was supposed to be doing. Then these buses pull up and start dropping off volunteers. So I tap-danced on the bed of my pickup and pretended they were in the right place. Next thing I know, Quicken asked for me to be in charge of them.” She stayed in that role during Life Remodeled projects in Cody Rouge and Osborn the next two years.
What you saw is far from all there is to Sarah Rae. A PhD clinical psychologist, she is emergency services coordinator for the Veterans Administration hospital in Iron Mountain and covers seven Upper Peninsula clinics. Working with victims of severe trauma – blinded, burned, amputees and paraplegics – she knows suffering. And need.
That is what brings her to Life Remodeled for a week each summer. She loves the culture that allows her to fix machinery, build and construct – and tap dance on the back of a pickup truck when necessary to get a group’s attention.
“Life Remodeled is where I feel joy and hope and family,” Sarah-Rae said. “Where else do you get to be the heartbeat of the restoration of a city?”