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  • Writer's pictureBob Long

Ms. Lillie sings the praises of NLI!

“An avalanche of goodness!” That’s how 77 year old Lillie describes the benefits she has received through the works of NeighborLink Indianapolis. Lillie sings the praises of the quality of the staff, volunteers and their responsiveness to the challenges facing her in her home.

Lillie has led an interesting and active life. Lillie was born in Winona, Mississippi. She moved to Indianapolis with her brother and sisters when she was five. Her career began in manufacturing, and she says that she loved this kind of work. Employers included Allison, Chrysler, International Harvester, and RCA, where she worked for 11 years.

Over the years, jobs in the manufacturing sector became scarce, so Lillie trained as a CNA/QMA. This eventually led to secretarial positions at Methodist Hospital. There, she supported the surgical trauma team, as well as pediatrics critical care and pediatrics rehab. While at Methodist, Lillie formed many friendships with physicians as her commitment to care and healing grew.

In her retirement, Lillie has put her medical knowledge to good use. She is the primary caregiver for one of her daughters, who is facing daunting medical challenges. Lillie is a fierce advocate for her daughter, and communicates daily with the medical team to ensure that she is receiving the care that she needs. Lillie also provides care for her former spouse.

Lillie has two other daughters, one in Georgia, and one locally. She has been blessed with six grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Her only grandson is a professional dancer with Dayton Contemporary Dance. He has performed in Russia, China, New Zealand, Australia, and Iceland, and also been an instructor and choreographer. She notes that even as a baby, he seemed destined to dance. “He would pull himself up and bounce around,” she says with a smile. When not on the road, he visits her often.

In addition to taking care of others, Lillie enjoys swimming. Although she has some medical problems of her own, she is still able to drive. Her life is busy and full, and she is a lively conversationalist!

She credits NeighborLink Indy for enabling her to continue to stay in her home, which has been in the family for more than 50 years. Recently, NeighborLink Indy was able to facilitate a large roofing project at Lillie’s home. This was made possible by a special grant obtained by the organization for home stabilization projects like roofs and other large expenses. The origins of the malfunctioning roof can be traced back to work done when Lillie’s mom lived in the house.

An addition was built at the back of the original structure, and a flat roof was installed over this extension. Lillie believes that the quality of workmanship was lacking, and suspects that this was due to others taking advantage of her elderly mother.

Predictably, problems began showing themselves. Lillie points to several areas in the ceiling where water came into the room over the years.

“This new roof has been a Godsend,” she says.

In addition to the roof, NLI has provided a sturdy railing for her front steps and new stairs, railing and landing for her basement. Lillie sums up her feelings about NeighborLink Indianapolis with a smile, “they are the best thing since brown bread.”

There are many others like Lillie who can continue to live independently in their own homes. All that they need is some assistance with basic repairs and accessibility challenges. Help support NLI with time or treasure. If you have time, volunteer! If a financial contribution would be better, donate!

With your support, NLI can help that “avalanche of goodness” snowball into more assistance for older adults and homeowners with disabilities.

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