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  • Writer's pictureBob Long

Thriving in Family

Virginia sits, smiling pleasantly in the dining room of her home of 75 years. Her daughter, Terri, sits close by. Behind Virginia are Happy Birthday balloons next to a wall of family photos. On another wall hangs one of three Sagamore of the Wabash awards that Virginia has received from Indiana’s governors.

Virginia , age 99, with daughter Terri
Virginia with daughter Terri

Virginia has just turned 99 years old. She has two biological daughters and a son, but has helped raise more than 250 foster children over the years. She and her late husband Joseph, Sr. fostered children in this home, raising them along with their own and giving them unconditional love and support. Many of these children have reached their 60’s and 70’s. Many still stay in contact with Virginia and she considers them all her family. She even legally adopted the last five of them.


In fact, Virginia has touched so many lives that her daughter Terri notes that they had to have two birthday celebrations to accommodate everyone that they wanted to invite.


Her former foster children return again and again to visit. This is a source of great joy for Virginia. “She loves being surrounded by family,” Terri says.

Virginia was introduced to NeighborLink Indianapolis (NLI) through the 2-1-1 information service. Her home was in need of trim painting to weatherize the bare wood that was now exposed through the aged paint. NLI provided exterior painting for a multitude of window trim, the long handrail leading up to the front porch, as well as other portions of the house’s exterior.

NeighborLink Indianapolis was able to help with exterior painting on Virginia's home and front porch railing
NeighborLink Indianapolis was able to help with exterior painting on Virginia's home and front porch railing

“You’ve got to know the need for prayer,” Virginia says, smiling.


Her faith has been a sustaining influence in her life. Terri shows a plaque awarded to Virginia from Oasis of Hope Baptist Church. Not only is she its oldest congregant, she is the last living charter member of the church which was founded in 1938.


Terri notes that she and her sister take turns helping with Virginia’s care. “There is no need to uproot her from her home,” she says.

NeighborLink Indianapolis’ mission of helping homeowners age in place safely is edified by stories like Virginia. Here, in the home she has built amazing memories and an outstanding family in, she feels most comfortable and loved. Her home is full of life. On any given day, you will find people coming and going, returning to the place where the love is strong, unconditional, and enduring. It is a testament to Virginia and Joseph who created this nurturing environment for so many. There is truly no institutionalized care, “senior housing” or other option that would be as healthy and pleasing as the home she owns.


A Sagamore of the Wabash award hangs in Virginia's dining room.  This is one of three received from Indiana's governors over the years.
A Sagamore of the Wabash award hangs in Virginia's dining room. This is one of three received from Indiana's governors over the years.

NLI supports homeowners like Virginia, year after year, whether they are new to our services or have a new need come up. We are able to walk alongside them and alleviate that burden of home repair thanks to grants, partnerships, volunteers and individual donors. Help support us this year in helping homeowners, like Virginia, remain happily in their homes.


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