Amazing things can come out of adversity with determination and creativity.

In 2006, Roger Mackbach, a senior at the University of Maine at Augusta, was involved in a boating accident that ultimately ended with the loss of his right arm.

Recently, Mackbach told me about relearning how to cut a steak for himself. After much deliberation and thought, he placed nails in a cutting board and set the steak against the nails. Once the steak was secured, he used his knife to cut past the nails. Finally, he was able to cut his steaks for himself again. Something that many people take for granted — eating — became something that required thought and ingenuity for Mackbach.

From witnessing adversity and experiencing his own, Mackbach was inspired to help others who may be facing challenges help themselves through their hardships. Mackbach created Help For Others to reach this goal.

The official mission statement of Help For Others reads: “Our mission is helping people find alternate resources of which they may not have considered.” For now, the organization is housed on Facebook.

To Mackbach, Help For Others serves as a way to introduce people to ways of overcoming adversity that they may have not thought of, like putting nails into a cutting board. Working together to fix problems means people don’t have to “reinvent the wheel,” according to Mackbach. To bring minds together, he jump-started the website he had created in 2004, and their mission evolved into what it is today.


With Help For Others, Mackbach hopes to make an easier path for those who come up against adversity. He told me an analogy about trailblazing when we sat down to talk: the first person to go through a tough, dangerous forest creates a path for those who come next. As Mackbach says, when you create a path, “the people coming behind you can have an easier road.”

The work that Help For Others tries to do is to be the trailblazing tool. Mackbach is passionate about giving people the resources they need to continue ahead. “I don’t give handouts; I give hand-ups,” Mackbach says. He is in the business of helping others better help themselves. He told me that he believes, “times of trials and adversity … can encourage growth.”

In the future, Mackbach plans to turn Help For Others into a nonprofit organization. For now, he will continue to post sources of information and ideas to help blaze a trail for others.

Kimberly Carter is an English student at the University of Maine at Augusta with an expected graduation in December 2016. She is also involved in many other activities on campus including working as a representative in the Student Government, tutoring in the Writing Center, playing the guitar and singing at campus events, speaking at academic presentations, and giving campus tours.

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