FRAN HEITZMAN: BUILDING A LEGACY OF HOPE10/11/2019 by Rebecca Toews
Created by Motion 117 Productions
Fran Heitzman says it was his mother’s influence that taught him to give back to others. He remembers people coming over to their house and his mother handing out potatoes from their garden to help people get by.
Heitzman, a three-time retiree (he says, it just didn’t “stick”), started Bridging in the basement of Pax Christi Church in Eden Prairie.
“One day I was working as the maintenance man, and a woman brought in a piece of furniture for our nursery. I told her we didn’t need it there, but she could leave it and I would find a home for it.”
That afternoon he went home and thought about it.
“I thought,… ‘This isn’t rocket science! Why can’t we do this? Why can’t we take things that people no longer need… and give it to someone who needs it?’”
And that’s how Bridging started. Since 1987, Bridging has changed lives while furnishing homes with hope.
“I believe that with all of us just doing what we can, we can change the world. And if everybody practices that, what a beautiful world it would be.”
Clients who shop at Bridging say the experience is nothing short of life-changing. Many had been sleeping on the floor, or didn’t even have a pot or pan to cook a meal.
“I had one little girl and her mother pull up to the dock doors. The little girl… rolled the window down and she said, ‘My mom told me you help little kids and I want to give you my savings.’ She handed me this little plastic bag with a dollar, a nickel and one dime in there. That little girl gave me her savings!”
Fran says he hopes that just by being an example, just by people watching what Bridging can do, that maybe some of that generosity will rub off on someone else.