safeHarbor Coalition restores homes of two elderly residents

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 3, 1999

By LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / Febuary 3, 1999

HAHNVILLE – United Way of St. Charles, working with three of its fundedagencies, spearheaded badly-needed repairs Saturday on the homes of two elderly people.

The two projects were planned along with the St. Charles United MethodistChurch’s Christian Care Unit, the St. Charles Council on Aging, Retired andSenior Volunteer Program and the Volunteer and Information Agency, acting as safeHarbor Coalition.

Home repairs were done at the homes of Odessa Jones, 229 Clement St.,New Sarpy, and Earline Washington, 717 Mockingbird Lane, St. Rose.”Wonderful! Thank God!” exclaimed Jones, marveling at the crew busy in and around her home. The work there involved removing a dead tree fromthe back yard, rehabilitating the kitchen, repairing a concrete step, electrical repairs and a thorough cleaning.

“It was a lot I couldn’t get to,” Jones said, who had been living at the residence for 42 years, the last five alone. She had been a school busdriver for 20 years.

Recent hip surgery and severe arthritis likewise hindered her efforts to move about the house and reach needed items for her kitchen. “It got towhere I just couldn’t do it no more,” she said.

Outside, at her back door, Earl Rogers planed off new concrete to repair a broken landing which posed a hazard for the elderly Jones. Ronda Knox andPattie Schoen helped her arrange items in her kitchen to make them easily accessible.

Meanwhile, down the road in St. Rose, Earline Washington was excited atall the work done at her residence, shared with her sister and 2-year-old great-granddaughter, Corionne.

“Words cannot express!” Washington exclaimed. “It’s a blessing from God!”The elderly sisters had been living at the Preston Hollow residence for 24 years.

As Dexter Grice and Johnny Marino Jr. repaired their vacuum cleaner,Brenda Marino cleaned the house, Susan Soergel repaired light fixtures and ceiling fans, Bill Green replaced buckled wood floor tiles and Dennis Dickenson replaced window screens.

“We had no money to fix this,” Washington said.

Development of the safeHarbor Coalition began in 1997, where talent and labor are recruited to help needy elderly residents across the parish.

Screening and selection is provided by the COA and other assistance is provided by RSVP and VIA.

The first project took place on Aug. 1, 1998, on East Easy Street in NewSarpy.

Anyone wishing to become involved in future projects are urged to contact Alice Johnson, St. Charles Council on Aging, at 783-6683.

Return To News Stories