Hometown Hero says ‘it’s a joy’ to help volunteers at the Upton House in Warren

Hometown Heroes

Michael McBriar works a full-time job and spends most of his free time volunteering at the Upton House, a national historic landmark in Warren. There are many people who are thankful for his help.

Built in 1840, the Upton House on Mahoning Avenue became the home of Harriet Taylor Upton in 1887. Upton dedicated 30 years of her life to helping pass the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

Since 1989, the house has been run by the Upton Association, which maintains it, gives tours and rents it out for events. This takes a lot of time and effort so when members got older, they enlisted some help.

“When my grandmother asked when I was in high school if I could help, I said, ‘Sure, I’ll come help,'” Michael said. “After that, ever since then, I’ve made the arrangements to try to be here.”

“When we have big projects — especially the garage sales, the moving things around, lifting and so on that most of our people are, you know, older. So it really helps to have young legs and young arms,” said Martha Flint, Michael’s grandmother.

Michael does anything and everything he can to help the Upton Association with the house and events. He also helps with the Women’s Garden across the street.

“We get the mulch in, we go and mulch the spots so it looks beautiful for the garden,” he said.

Michael works a full-time job as a merchandiser for Pepsi but volunteers hours to help at the Upton House. He even schedules his days off around what they need.

“Normally, I try to make my day off be the day that they need the help,” he said.

“I always give him a schedule, so that he requests off so that he can give us the full day,” Martha said.

She said other members of the Upton Association are thankful for all he does and how he goes about it.

“They say, ‘Oh, what a polite young man,’ and ‘What a nice young man’ and ‘Boy, he’s really saving us a lot of work.’ We start and work in three-hour shifts and by about two-and-a-half hours, we’re tired and he’s still just going, and ‘What else do you want me to do?’ ‘What can I do?’ ‘Can I move this?'”

Michael said he’ll keep volunteering for as long as he can. He enjoys lending a hand.

“It makes me feel wonderful,” he said. “It’s a joy to help people out when they need help.”

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