Larry Miller volunteered, recruited and fundraised to rebuild the fence at Cocoon House’s north Arlington facility. A strong windstorm earlier this year damaged the fence. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Larry Miller volunteered, recruited and fundraised to rebuild the fence at Cocoon House’s north Arlington facility. A strong windstorm earlier this year damaged the fence. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Volunteer helps mend damaged Cocoon House fence in Arlington

ARLINGTON — A windstorm toppled part of the fence surrounding the home for teen mothers. Wooden posts lost their footing in the dirt and the section of fence still standing was rotting from age and the rain.

Cocoon House was staring at a $8,000 to $9,000 bill. That money was meant to help those without a home.

There was a more important cause to invest in than replacing a fence.

Cocoon House provides shelter and services to homeless youth in Snohomish County. In addition to its primary location in Everett, it provides housing to a handful of teenage mothers and their young ones at a house located in Arlington.

The repairs would put a big dent in the budget, volunteer coordinator Marty Shaw said.

Larry Miller was looking for ways to lend a hand.

One of Miller’s co-workers organized a company backpack and school supply drive for Cocoon House. Since then, Miller has been more aware of the young people he passes on the street.

He wanted to do more.

So, he visited Cocoon House. He asked a question that Shaw said not many volunteers ask.

“What do you need?”

As a nonprofit, Cocoon House is always looking for volunteers. The organization tries to accomplish six different tasks with one person, Shaw said.

Cocoon House did not have someone on staff with the expertise, or time, to rebuild the fence.

Miller was a home builder and carpenter for 25 years before he transitioned into real estate 18 years ago.

He sought out deals on lumber and supplies from local businesses, such as Premier Fence in Marysville and Chinook Lumber in Arlington. He also recruited volunteers from Carpenters in Action, a group with the North Puget Sound Carpenters Local 70 union.

In Miller’s free time, he went door-to-door informing people of the construction project happening in the neighborhood. Some gifted donations. He also started a GoFundMe page. About $1,700 was raised to purchase the project supplies.

“We got their fence all fixed and incorporated some landscaping,” Miller said. “Then the mothers could really focus on their children. It’s a ripple effect of what a small act can do.”

Miller’s involvement didn’t end with this project. He offered to assist with additional construction projects and to coordinate hiking trips for the teens.

A second fundraising campaign is in the works. The proceeds will go toward buying winter coats for the kids and teens.

Miller didn’t come to get his fill of “warm and fuzzies” and then leave, Shaw said.

“He’s blowing us away with his ability to contribute and his self-driven nature, month after month,” Shaw said.

Caitlin Tompkins: 425-339-3192;

Talk to us

More in Local News

Darrell Cain, Pierce College Puyallup president and incoming Everett Community College interim president
Pierce College Puyallup president picked to lead EvCC for now

Everett Community College’s board chose Darrell Cain as its interim president.

The entrance to the new free COVID vaccination site at the Everett Mall on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Free mass-vaccination site opens Tuesday at Everett Mall

Hundreds of appointments are up for grabs at the state-run site, which will offer initial doses, boosters and pediatric shots.

Michael Jensen, left, and Nathan Jensen, right, pick up trash in their encampment that they being forced to clear out of by Parks Department the near Silver Lake on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Annual homeless count could shed light on pandemic’s impact

Snohomish County canceled its 2021 point-in-time count. Officials hope this year’s will bring clarity.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
Democrats ready to ditch the other ‘grand bargain’ of 2021

Here’s what’s happening on Day 10 of the 2022 session of the Washington Legislature.

Marysville Pilchuck student Gianna Frank and Marysville firefighters bag puzzles and snacks in Marysville, Washington on January 17, 2022. (Isabella Breda / The Herald)
In Marysville, care packages filled in an MLK act of service

Some bags will go to seniors, some to survivors of domestic violence and some to those living with housing insecurity.

Inches of snow cover roads Saturday afternoon in downtown Edmonds, Washington on February 13, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
After snowstorms, cities make a roadmap for next time

Meanwhile, Lynnwood was inundated with entries in a contest to name a city plow. One idea? Plowy McPlowface.

Index School (Index School District)
Voters to decide fate of critical school funding measures

Levies to pay for staff and programs are on the Feb. 8 ballot in districts across Snohomish County.

A crew member carries plywood to steathe a roof as of the Home Repair Service Program Friday morning in Brier, Washington on January 14, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Habitat for Humanity program helps Brier homeowners stay put

The nonprofit’s Home Repair Service program gave a senior couple a new roof — and hope.

Snohomish County Courthouse. (Herald file)
Lawmakers consider Snohomish County request for 2 more judges

It’s been 15 years since the Legislature approved a new Superior Court judge for the county.

Most Read