Local church comes together for Lynnwood home cleanup

Mukilteo residents hands-on in project
By Brandon Gustafson | Aug 15, 2019
Courtesy of: Shelly Oberman Sharyl Martens with a photo of her husband, Ray. Ray passed away in December.

The life of Sharyl Martens had been rough over the last few years, as she was caring for her husband before he passed away last December.

That pushed other things to the back burner, such as the care of her Lynnwood home.

Luckily for her, she was going to get some help in the form of a church community – Unity of Lynnwood – whose members  spent Saturday, Aug. 3, helping maintain the outside of her home, overgrown with weeds, vines, and plants.

“We ended up with about 70 adults and 10 kids helping out,” Richard Held, Unity’s pastor, said.

Unity has members from all across the area, Held said, with some members living on the east side, some living as far north as Arlington, and many living in Mukilteo. Don and Candi Doran were among the Mukilteo residents who attend Unity and helped with the project. Don is a former Mukilteo mayor and Candi is Mukilteo’s former “first lady.”

“The house was also painted and power washed. We did a lot,” Candi Doran said. “It was just completely overgrown.”

Candi said the day helping Martens was “quite the experience,” and that it was great for her church community to come together in that way.

“We had music and lunch, and she (Martens) was a part of all of it,” Candi said. “She was asked to speak, and she couldn’t because she was so overcome with emotion.”

The project couldn’t have been completed without the help of Daniel Kaulfus, a church member from Texas who is a mechanical engineer.

“This was his 10th project like this,” Held said. “It’s a great passion of his. When he came up here, he wanted to do something here.”

Kaulfus said when he was a student at Texas A&M there was a big commencement event, which showed him “the power of getting people together.”

“Fast forward 25 years, I’m at my church in Austin, Texas … and we found and helped needful families in the area,” he said. “Then I moved up to Seattle a few years ago, and I brought up the idea of helping families and their houses and (Unity members) loved the idea.”

Kaulfus, Unity, and Homage Senior Services partnered together to find a family or person in need who didn’t have the physical or monetary ability to provide upkeep for their home.

This eventually led them to select Martens.

“She was caring for (her husband) for about five years, and then he passed away last December,” Kaulfus said. “She’s been in the house for nearly 50 years, and the last 10 to 15 years there’s been almost no maintenance. It was a very good match.”

Kaulfus appreciated Martens’ neighbors for their help that day, as well.

“They were helpful and supportive. They let us use their yards, driveways, and hoses. Anything we needed. It was a great example of coming together as a community.”

Kaulfus said that often there’s a misconception a project is focused on the house itself, but he reiterated it’s about the people involved.

“Most of this is about the community coming together. It’s a great feeling seeing people coming together to help someone they don’t know who needs it.”

Now that Kaulfus’ first Washington project is out of the way, he and Held both said the church will be doing work like this annually.

“Next year it will be bigger, and the year after will be bigger than that,” Kaulfus said.

You can bet the Dorans will be there helping as well. Candi said she and Don are heavily involved with many church activities, such as this project, and describe being a part of Unity as “wonderful.”

“We just love it. It’s fabulous.”





The front of Sharyl Martens’ home before Unity of Lynnwood members assisted with maintenance Aug. 3. (Courtesy of: Shelly Oberman)
The front of Sharyl Martens’ home after Unity of Lynnwood members assisted with maintenance Aug. 3. (Courtesy of: Shelly Oberman)
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