The Humble Task of Transforming Detroit

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along not only by the might shoves of its heroes but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.”
– Helen Keller

The beauty of the work at Henry Ford is we have people performing great and noble tasks as well as humble tasks as though they were great.  The beauty of what is transforming our city is the same, and here is an example of a great “humble task.” 

The following was sent to me by Patrick Irwin, vice president of Human Resources:

Students paint the train viaduct at Trumbull and Holden, near Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

On the way back from a meeting today, Kathy Macki and I ran into a group of amazingly enthusiastic and energized teenagers dedicated to making a difference in the “D.”

This summer youth volunteer group is part of an organization calledSummer in the Citywhich is based out of Southwest Detroit but does volunteer work across the “D.”

Predominately high school students, they are painting and fixing the “D” one viaduct, one graffiti wall, one over-grown field at a time.

In the above picture, the students are painting every inch of the train viaduct near Trumbull and Holden in the shadow of Henry Ford Hospital. 

Patrick Irwin and Kathy Macki

We stopped to talk with the kids and they see a bright future for the “D” — a place for all to live, work and play.

If you get a chance drive down Trumbull to see their work — it is really good and inspires hope that better days are yet in front of us — if we have the courage to reach out for them!

These kids get it — part of the solution — not the problem!  Their future is in front of us, no rear view mirror!

Learn more about Summer in the City at

Share Doc in the D:

6 thoughts on “The Humble Task of Transforming Detroit

  1. On my way into Henry Ford Corporate every morning I have the pleasure of seeing the transformation that is taking place at Trumbull and Holden. Thank you to this group of talented and dedicated kids and thanks for the article. I wondered who the “magic” painters were. Your efforts brighten up the day for all who drive by.

  2. I love coming to work that way. I have watched the progress of this project unfold! It is beautiful art and amazing to see. Every day there is something new added. I only wish they could do the train bridge by One Ford Place! If ever a place needed beautification that spot does! Perhaps their next project???? 😉

  3. My daughter has volunteered over 100 hours this summer for this program. She has loved every minute and has spent many hot days painting this mural…

  4. I pass this every morning on the way into work. It is stunningly beautiful . I wanted to get out and paint with them. This is how things change.

Comments are closed.