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By Michelle Tikalsky

Mark, 52, gives back to the community and the community gives back to him. He grew up in Excelsior, a small town with close friendships.

“Mark is a man of few words,” said Kristen, who has been a Community Living Specialist at Reach for four and a half years. She visits Mark twice a week.

There isn’t a moment in the day when Mark isn’t doing good for the people in his neighborhood. Mark has been helping a neighbor he grew up near, who is currently in the process of selling his house. Mark has been supporting that family with the process every step of the way.

Mark also assists a woman who used to live in his apartment building. “I help her at her house,” Mark said, explaining how he gets the heavy water softener bags for her and also gets her car washed.

Mark enjoys lending a hand to his landlord, Cliff, with anything that needs tending to. “We close the pool and clean it,” Mark said. Then, in the spring, he helps Cliff set it back up and checks the chlorine. When people move out, Mark is there to assist with remodeling.

Even though Mark doesn’t get paid for helping his landlord, his landlord repays him in other ways. “Recently, Mark’s vacuum stopped working, so Mark mentioned it to Cliff,” said Kristen. Cliff gave Mark a new vacuum.

Mark (center) with a couple of the employees at the record store he frequents.

Mark has a liking for records. He owns a record player from the 1970s and played it so much that the needle wore out. Every Thursday, Kristen and Mark go to the record store, where Mark has earned their trust as a loyal customer. Kristen explains, “They used to have a guy who repaired the turntables. You could leave your record player there to be repaired, but you had to leave a deposit because when people found out how much it cost they would never come and pick it up. When Mark brought his record player there, they didn’t charge him a deposit.”

Kristen speaks highly of Mark’s caring, polite disposition. “He treats everyone with respect. I’m sure that Mark has had days where he hasn’t felt so great or he maybe felt a little crabby. I have never witnessed it.”

Mark’s heart is filled with so much kindness that there isn’t room for negativity. He has touched the hearts of everyone he knows, and anyone who has the opportunity to know Mark is lucky.