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Center Line, Sterling Heights, Warren

‘Mr. Goodfellow’ still working to help those in need

December 18, 2013

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Darrell Nieporte, the longtime secretary treasurer of the Warren/Sterling Heights/Center Line Goodfellows, said he may only have a few months to live but was still working to line up support for needy children, seniors and families at the holidays this year.

WARREN — For more than five decades, Christmas has been the busiest time of the year for Darrell Nieporte.

At age 75, it still is. The needs of the Warren/Sterling Heights/Center Line Goodfellows are many — perhaps more than ever. Volunteers continue to seek donations as they struggle to put food on the table for families and gifts in the hands of children in need this holiday season.

Their work goes on, not stopping after Christmas, but resonating throughout the year in monthly programs for needy families, senior citizens and cancer patients.

Nieporte said he promised his mother many years ago that he would help those who were less fortunate. Now in hospice care, he’s literally spending his final days working to honor that pledge.

“I’m lucky,” Nieporte said Dec. 9 at his home in Warren. “People say they’re sorry. I don’t look at it that way. There are people in this world that are blind, maybe paralyzed, can’t move. They’re the people that are worse off than you.

“I’m doing what I love to do until my final breath,” Nieporte said.

The longtime secretary and treasurer of the Warren/Sterling Heights/Center Line Goodfellows, Nieporte said he was told he has just two or three months left to live. He was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, a scarring of the lungs, eight years ago and has been battling health challenges ever since.

Nieporte said his daughters, Dawn and Dorene, and the Goodfellows volunteers would carry on the work when he’s gone. What they need, he said, is the continued support he’s often enjoyed in the community.

“We ran out of food for the first time early in October,” Nieporte said. “I had to shut down. And we ran out of money.”

Nieporte said he’s been working the phones from his bed, trying to rally support for the Goodfellows one more time.

“It’s very impressive. I’m amazed he’s still doing it,” said Tabitha Walton, 39, of Clinton Township, a volunteer with the Warren/Sterling Heights/Center Line Goodfellows. “We’ve all been telling him he’s got to relax a bit. He says he’ll relax when he’s gone.

“He’s definitely not going to let no child go without or no senior, that’s for sure,” Walton said. “If it wasn’t for him, a lot of these families wouldn’t have much.”

In addition to donations of cash and food, Nieporte said they also need baby items, especially food and diapers. New toys for children are also needed.

Volunteers are needed to assist in the group’s annual fundraising newspaper sale and to work in the warehouse between now and Dec. 23.

“There’s always something that has to be done to help others that are less fortunate,” Nieporte said.

Monetary donations can be made by check to Warren/Sterling Heights/Center Line Goodfellows and mailed to P.O. Box 555, Warren, MI 48090.

Donations of food, clothing and toys can be left at the Goodfellows warehouse on the west side of the parking lot at the Warren Community Center, 5460 Arden.

Families in need of help through the Warren/Sterling Heights/Center Line Goodfellows must call (586) 979-4313 and leave a message. Volunteers wishing to help in the warehouse or with the paper sale were asked to call the same number.

About the author

Staff Writer Brian Louwers covers the cities of Warren and Center Line. He has worked for C & G Newspapers since 1998 and is a graduate of the University of Michigan-Dearborn. In his free time, he participates in the Michigan State University Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program and conducts interviews with military veterans for the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress.

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