Gift of Donation Helps a Builder Get Back to Work

Robert C. Berens | Tissue recipient

Robert Berens is an active 76-year-old who is always working to make life better for others and his community. One of his passions is building tiny homes for people experiencing homelessness and poverty.

Robert Berens with a tiny house he is constructingBob was putting these skills to use to help his own family when he had a serious mishap. With one daughter working at a local church and another with cerebral palsy, he was in the beginning stages of constructing an affordable home for them to share on his property. He was building out the basement when he reached for a hammer and fell from atop a ladder. Despite being lucky enough to catch himself by holding onto a wall stud, his shoulder bore the weight of his body, causing a debilitating arm injury. Bob needed the gift of donated tissue in order to have his arm surgically repaired.

“The restoration of my arm and the ability to use it will make a significant difference in my life going forward,” Bob said. He wrote a thank-you letter to the family of his donor in which he told them, “Please know that I am very sorry for the loss that led to this donation and for the grief that your family must have endured.”

With his arm repaired, Bob plans to continue doing his part in supporting a nationwide initiative to provide tiny home communities across the United States. For the last ten years, he has been involved in these efforts through Urban Resources, Habitat for Humanity, and Settled, an organization focused on building tiny homes for the homeless.

“When I use my tools in the work I do, I am reminded of the person who provided me with that tool,” Bob said. “When I use my arm in the future, I will be reminded of the gift that makes the use of my arm possible.”