Michael Smedley was very familiar with his daily work routine. Thirty years with the same company will definitely do that to someone. While he enjoyed the work at State Farm and the people whom he describes as “pillars in their community” and “somebody everybody knows”, Michael felt like he was checking boxes most days. After four different jobs within State Farm, there was a different path coming around the corner; he just wasn’t aware yet.
In June 2015, the health of Michael’s father was declining. He spent a lot of time caring for his father. This particular summer would prepare and transition Michael into his unforeseen, new career.
While Founder and CEO, Koy Butler, was finishing up his third house in Little Rock, Koy encouraged his brother-in-law, Michael, to provide House of Three care in Hot Springs. “For Kinsey and I to foster kids for fifteen years in our home, it just made sense to join in the House of Three mission; the kids are just older. It’s been a huge, positive change for me,” says Michael.
The first House of Three in Hot Springs opened in January 2016, and the second home opened two years ago last July.
When asked what his daily routine now looks like since becoming a facilitator, Michael responds, “In this job, I’m caring for people that can’t care for the basics of life; the things we take for granted ourselves. For example, I will put a spoon to someone’s mouth, get them dressed and assist them in showering.” He continues, “It doesn’t matter how much money you have once you lose those abilities. I’ve had so many residents that can’t speak a word to even say ‘thank you’. What I see is the look in their eyes. It shows their gratitude and what they want to say, and that’s really something.”
Michael says he felt appreciated at State Farm, but not like in his job at House of Three. He loves being a part of a company that is mission-minded. “It’s been a good fit and I get to work with my brother-in-law and be a part of his dream. My wife, Kinsey, is so supportive. My own kids have formed relationships with certain residents over the past three and a half years.”
Throughout every House of Three home, one thing remains number one: the residents. The facilitators ensure the residents are cared for by hiring quality caregivers. A perfect caregiver is one that loves their job and wants to make life simple and enjoyable for those in their sunset of life.
If a caregiver is not available, the facilitator must be there to cover. Some responsibilities are grocery shopping and cooking meals. Another side to being a facilitator is marketing their homes. Michael visits assisted living facilities, elder law attorneys, nursing homes, Hospice companies, rehab centers and medical equipment supply companies in the Hot Springs and Hot Springs Village areas.
Beyond the personal attentiveness and companionship found at a House of Three, residents receive help with all living activities and cost does not change as more personal care is required. A resident will pay far less at House of Three than a 24/7 caregiver from a company coming into their own home. Monthly costs align within the average of nursing homes in Garland County. House of Three frees family up to live their lives again knowing their loved one is in good hands.
Many fond memories come to Michael’s mind when he thinks of his House of Three moment. One stands out though. One of Michael’s residents was a gentleman named John that was in the Air Force for twenty seven years. He was the navigator of a very large US Air Force cargo aircraft, the Douglas Globemaster C-124. It was the primary heavy-lift transport cargo airplane for the United States Air Force during the 1950s and early 1960s. The aircraft could carry large military vehicles, supplies or up to 200 soldiers. As the navigator, John used specialized instruments to assist the pilots in flight to be aware of the aircraft position at all times.
In the first couple of months of John being at House of Three, Michael did a YouTube search for Globemaster C-124. One video was an air show where former pilots gave tours to people. They spoke to the camera about the in’s and out’s of the plane. In this video, the camera panned to the navigator seat. John was blown away to see something so familiar on the large screen TV. He could speak only a few words, but he was sitting in his recliner, on the edge of his seat, mumbling. He rose when Michael got to the part where they were looking at the instruments he used in the Air Force. John came up to the screen and would tell Michael what everything was. Michael recounts, “I was so moved by that. He was so excited about telling me about it. I would start and pause to allow him to relive that time in his life.”
The next day, Michael and John went to the sunroom on a nice day. John turned to Michael and said, “Thank you for showing me my airplane.” John had tears in his eyes. After that day, Michael would get his laptop and earphones and pull up Air Force videos that would interest him. As seen in this story, this is a perfect example of how much the caregivers and facilitators know their residents and have a special connection with them.
John served his country and served with honor. He was a very patriotic 6’2, 205 pound man. To be able to relive the glory days of his past was something he held onto in his last years.
John made such an impact on Michael. On the nights Michael would help John to bed, Michael would say, “Nighty night.” John would start laughing. One night, John responded by saying, “Good graces are in His flow.” Michael remembers this being one of the clearest full sentences John said in his three years with House of Three. Michael placed that statement on the fridge for a long time for all to see and remember.
We invite you to get to know Michael. He will keep you smiling and laughing! There are many more stories left to be told from the walls in House of Three Hot Springs, AR.