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Hope House Retiree Leaves Legacy

CORALVILLE, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- The long line at Mike Quinlan's retirement on Wednesday afternoon wasn't out of the ordinary, considering his extraordinary work.

Quinlan is retiring from the Hope House in Coralville after 26 years of service.

"Mike just believes in people, and he believes in the potential that exists within each of us," said Hope House residential manager Sam Black.

Five years ago, Quinlan started the Hope House community service program, logging thousands of hours of service, and helping residents like Mitchell Kubik get back on their feet.

"It makes a great difference. All my life I ain't never had that," Kubik said.

The impact of their work is taped up on the walls of the Hope House classroom, and from tragedies like the floods of 2008 to festivals like Sand in the City, the pictures and 'Thank you' cards covering the walls show just how far Hope House has been able to reach into the community.

"There's no way that that can't have an affect on them, and if it can have an affect on them, then it can change their lives," Quinlan said.

And it does.

"I'm never going back to prison, I've learned my lesson. I've hurt too many people, and I just want to give all that back," Kubik said.

Quinlan's reach extends beyond the Hope House, to kids like Jaeda Hernandez, 13, whose grandmother works with Quinlan. He took Jaeda to a University of Iowa women's basketball game, where Jaeda met her role model, Morgan Johnson.

"It's like God had him there, but I didn't know, and then He wanted him in my life, and I didn't know that was going to happen," Jaeda said.

With a send-off as powerful as Quinlan's, it's easy to see why the hundreds of others who passed through Hope House would want to be like Mike.

"Don't feel sorry for yourself. Count the blessing that you've got, and work on strengthening your life," Quinlan said.
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