Help Our Garden Grove Residents Recover from the Heartbreak of Flooding

While our prayers are with the families and first responders impacted by Hurricane Florence, the town of Manhattan, Kansas experienced its own devastating flooding due to recent torrential rains in the region.

Help Our Garden Grove Residents Recover from the Heartbreak of Flooding - nationalchurchresidences.blog

Heavy rains caused a creek to burst its banks and flood the Kansas town of Manhattan, forcing more than 300 people to evacuate their homes, including some who were ferried to dry land in boats.

Nearly 9 inches (23 centimeters) of rain fell from Sunday night into Monday over Labor Day weekend, causing extensive flooding to National Church Residences Garden Grove senior affordable housing community. All of the residents were evacuated and moved to higher ground as the water on the first floor rose as high as three feet, which resulted in significant loss of personal possessions. It is estimated that it will take weeks to fully restore power to the region – and it could be even longer before these residents can return to their homes.

Help Our Garden Grove Residents Recover from the Heartbreak of Flooding - nationalchurchresidences.blog

The average age of the 62 residents at Garden Grove is 70, and all have modest resources. Most are frail and suffer from one or more chronic conditions. They do not have the means to easily replace all that was lost, and insurance will only cover so much. Our residents need your help.

We are asking you to help us “Restock the Fridge” for the residents of Garden Grove. Your donation will provide food and personal care items to these residents once they are able to return to the building.

This simple gesture to restore a basic human need to these residents certainly will ease their worries as they begin to rebuild their lives.

Visit the Garden Grove Flood Relief crowdfunding page to start a fundraising campaign, or give now.

 

 

We want you to be a part of the National Church Residences mission. Feel free to leave a comment, suggest a topic, ask a question, or send an email to communications@nationalchurchresidences.org.

Celebrating 100 Years

This week, one of our residents celebrates 100 years of life.

Anna Mae Gearhart was born on September 8, 1918, in Mt. Pleasant, PA. She has lived in the area all of her life. Anna Mae lost her husband when she was 50 years old and was left to work and raised her 12-year-old son. She worked at PNC Bank for 35 years as a teller. Anna Mae loved every minute of it. Many of the employees who still work there remember her sassy personality and kind heart. She would have kept working but she wanted to spend more time with her son and family.

In 2005, Anna Mae moved to Ridgeview Apartments where she lives independently.  Anna Mae is healthy and active. She just started using a rollator in the past year but only uses it when she feels like she most needs it or when her friends fuss at her to use it.   She still actively participates in resident council and most of the events at Ridgeview.

Anna Mae has a great community of friends. She enjoys spending time with them and going to McDonald’s for her favorite $1 Hamburger.  They take the bus once a week to the shopping mall or to the Eat N’ Park in Latrobe.  Anna Mae is still very lively and spry. The bus drivers have actually named a bus after her because of her strong spirit and determination to do everything on her own.

When asked what is the key to longevity she said, “happiness.”

At National Church Residences, we work hard to create communities where our residents can thrive and enjoy life. Our goal is to always keep residents, like Anna Mae, happy, healthy and Home for Life.

 

 

We want you to be a part of the National Church Residences mission. Feel free to leave a comment, suggest a topic, ask a question, or send an email to communications@nationalchurchresidences.org.

Legacy Village Groundbreaking Ceremony - nationalchurchresidences.blog

Legacy Village Groundbreaking Ceremony

On Friday, August 10, the residents of Legacy Village and the community came together for the groundbreaking ceremony of the new apartments. The Xenia based campus is adding one- and two-bedroom market-rate apartments to meet the needs of seniors in the area.

Legacy Village Groundbreaking Ceremony - nationalchurchresidences.blog

The residents and the community enjoyed a bluegrass concert from Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers, community tours, live remote radio from WBZI Real Roots Radio, and food from Gibbs Ole Tyme Hamburger Wagon, Purely Sweet Bakery and Young’s Dairy Ice Cream.

Legacy Village Groundbreaking Ceremony - nationalchurchresidences.blog

The campus where Legacy Village sits has a rich history. In 1869, the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphans Home was established here. The home was commissioned by President Abraham Lincoln on land donated by Ohio Civil War soldiers – originally serving children who lost their fathers in the conflict. The community continued to grow and was operated as an orphanage for more than 100 years!

The groundbreaking ceremony included Matt Rule, Senior Vice President of Development for National Church Residences, Mayor of Xenia, Sarah Mays, President of Ruscilli Construction, Jim Cetovich, Amy Becker of Huntington National Bank, and Peggy Reynolds, special resident of Legacy Village.

Legacy Village Groundbreaking Ceremony - nationalchurchresidences.blog

Peggy Reynolds is a special part of the Legacy Village Community. She worked for the Ohio Soldiers and Sailors Home on campus for 20 years! Peggy worked at the Peter Pan House (K-5th Grade) in the Food Services Dept. until 1980 when she transferred to the main dining room, now called the Shindler Center. There, she worked her way up to a cook, and eventually a supervisor before retiring. Peggy was an important part of training the children in the foodservice industry, ensuring they were able to provide for themselves when they left the home.

Legacy Village Groundbreaking Ceremony - nationalchurchresidences.blog

The bustling community included a farm, hospital, residences, chapel, school and many other buildings. In 1978, the home’s name was changed to the Ohio Veterans’ Children’s Home and operated until the last graduating class received their high school diplomas 1996. Eventually, Legacy Village Retirement Center was built on the land in 2009.

Legacy Village Groundbreaking Ceremony - nationalchurchresidences.blog

The expansion of Legacy Village involves a new 51-unit independent living, senior mid-rise apartment building that will sit on 42 acres that housed the Ohio Veterans’ Children’s Home. The new three-story building will be connected to a one-story clubhouse with a common dining area, lounge and fitness room. These apartments will be available to middle-income seniors who are looking to become a part of this active campus while continuing to enjoy Xenia and the offerings of surrounding communities.

Construction for the new apartments is underway and is expected to be completed in about a year.


We want you to be a part of the National Church Residences mission. Feel free to leave a comment, suggest a topic, ask a question, or send an email to communications@nationalchurchresidences.org.

Helping Formerly Homeless Find Employment

One of the main hindrances to the formerly homeless finding success is that they lack the training they need to find and keep employment. Our employees recognized this issue and created the Right Track program.

This program was designed to assist residents of our Permanent Supportive Housing Communities in vocational education training, giving them the tools they need to be successful and gain additional independence. We found that other programs that were offered were too long and didn’t provide the essentials that these residents need to make the proper next steps. Right Track is a five-day program with critical information that changes the lives of those who attend.

In the program, there are three days of work readiness training. In these three days, the trainers teach a variety of hands-on skills including mock interviews, communication skills, financial literacy, and stress management. Residents who successfully complete the training attend a graduation where many of them invite their family and friends to help them celebrate their accomplishment.

After completing the program, the residents are given a four-week training experience where they work directly with our maintenance staff in National Church Residences communities and other community partners, gaining on the job training. These residents enjoy the opportunity to gain work experience and additional money to supplement their social security income. Each resident employee’s caseworker helps them through this process, checking up on them and making sure that they arrive to work on time.

This program has made a difference in the lives of several of our residents. Since the beginning of the program
186 residents enrolled
106 completed supportive employment experience
53% of those who have graduated are employed

This program is making a difference in the lives of those who otherwise would have little to no options. We are proud of this program and look forward to expanding it further.

 

We want you to be a part of the National Church Residences mission. Feel free to leave a comment, suggest a topic, ask a question, or send an email to communications@nationalchurchresidences.org.

Meet 105-Year-Old Dorothy Wilson of Clark East Tower in Ypsilanti

By Sojourner Marable Grimmett

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Imagine having the opportunity to sit down and interview a 105-year-old woman. What would you ask her? I posed this very question on my personal Facebook page and received over 150 responses from friends. The questions ranged from, “What was your childhood like?” “Were you involved in any freedom movements?” “Which invention over your lifetime has made the most impact?”, and “Do you have any home remedies for colds?”

In late September, I had the blessing to sit down for a video chat with 105 year old Mrs. Dorothy Wilson to listen and learn about her life. I adjusted my earplugs as I sat in a small quaint Midtown coffee shop anticipating her voice. Thanks to one of our National Church Residences’ staff member’s iPhone, I was grateful to see that Mrs. Wilson was residing comfortably in an oversized chair in the front lobby of her home, located at National Church Residences’ Clark East Tower in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

With a million questions racing through my mind, I started off by simply asking “How are you feeling today?” She replied, “I feel good. I’ll be 106 in November. I never thought that I would live this long. I’ve been asked so many questions about my life. How do you live this long? What do you eat?” I laughed, because some of the questions she stated were the next couple of ones that I was going to ask her.

Mrs. Wilson was born on November 28, 1911 in Mt. Vernon, New York. Her mother passed away when she was a young child. She was raised, along with two older sisters and two older brothers, by her father who was a lumber worker and stepmother.

Mrs. Wilson is an African American woman who went to an integrated school and “had a very good life” not feeling the harshness of racism and discrimination. “I never felt too much discrimination. We went to school with white children and I played with them too,” she said.

Growing up, she enjoyed playing ball with her siblings, and spending hours of time at the library. Mrs. Wilson was a curious child, “I always wondered about the world. I would go out on the porch and stand and look out and I always thought the sky and the earth met.”

When asked about healthy eating, she said, “There are a lot of things I didn’t eat. My stepmother didn’t prepare meals like we have today. My favorite foods were vegetables. I enjoyed eating lettuce and tomatoes, and we ate things when they were in season. We grew everything; tomatoes, cucumbers, and string beans. When it came down to southern dishes we didn’t eat those.”

I pivoted the conversation and asked, “Let’s talk about the evolution of style, beauty, and fashion. How did you wear your hair?” She replied, “When I was younger I remember my stepmother use to comb my hair and put Vaseline and a hot comb through it until it ruined my hair. Black women look much different these days. They looked better when I was growing up.” As an African American woman, I processed her comment and then grinned. I thought to myself how different the world must look like now with its rampant consumerism and the over-complexities of beauty.

As a teenager, Mrs. Wilson’s penmanship was remarkable. Her only regret was not attending college. “I wanted to attend Wilberforce University.” Living near the railroad tracks she wanted to become an engineer. Instead, she chose a career path in nursing, working at Brooklyn State Hospital.

When asked, “What was your favorite decade and why?” Mrs. Wilson reminisced and proclaimed it was during the 60’s. “If you’re born in one decade and live to see another, then God has spared you to see as much as you can. I would go to soapbox talks in Harlem on the weekends. You’d have different soapbox speakers every weekend. I saw Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. and Joe Lewis.”

Mrs. Wilson married George Wilson at the young age of 19. He was an entrepreneur with a motivated heart and together they started a small catering business. “I had a good married life. My husband taught me a lot. He taught me how to drive. One day he was taking me down the road and I wanted to get behind the wheel. I got mad and was going to walk back home. He went around the block, starting following me, then he got out of the car, and let me drive.”

In 1967, her husband passed away, and five years later Mrs. Wilson sold their family business. Every year, Mrs. Wilson visited her sister in Ypsilanti, Michigan. “I’ve only lived in one state all of my life until 1972. I decided to move to Michigan to be with my sister and her family.”

Mrs. Wilson joined Brown Chapel in 1973 under Pastor George Powell. From then on she has continued her missionary and volunteer work in Ypsilanti, serving in the Missionary Society, Willing Workers, as a member of the senior Usher Board, past president of Church Women United, Beyer Hospital Auxiliary and past matron of Ruth Chapter #2 of the Eastern Stars; and at Beyer Hospital for 22 years and Turner Geriatric Center Silver Club for 8 years.

When Mrs. Wilson turned 89 years old she moved into East Clark Towers. She still writes checks and enjoys the freedom of living on her own. Mrs. Wilson mentioned that the greatest invention of her time was the automobile, which she gave up driving when she turned 101 years old.

Her greatest accomplishment in life is: “Getting along with people and treating everyone right. Always be careful what you say. And never look down on anyone else. I’ve always gotten along with anyone no matter what color. Always remember to treat people the way that you want to be treated.”

National Church Residences’ Atlanta Resident Naomi Barber King Opens Her Home, History and Heart

 

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King sitting in her living room at a National Church Residences property

By Sojourner Marable Grimmett

“Everyone has a story and if you don’t tell your story then it might not ever get told.” – Naomi Barber King
 
A black and silver butterfly burette rested perfectly in her snow white colored hair. She proudly stood in her living room, wearing a white sweater-set with black trimming, black pants. I was greeted with a bright, big smile, as I entered the home of Mrs. Naomi Barber King, located at a National Church Residences’ property just about 15 minutes southwest of Atlanta, Georgia. I extended my hand and she leaned in for a hug.
 
She led me by the hand, as together we circled the space, both admiring her numerous photographs and precious memories on the walls. The feeling of African American history and pride was overwhelming. I pictured myself living as her in her prime in the 1960’s, rallying for civil rights and “justice for all.” Old photos adorned the walls of her late husband Rev. Alfred Daniel “A.D.” King, brother-in-law Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and sister-in-law Coretta Scott King. Mrs. King picked up a celebratory card off of her maple coffee table and placed it in my hands. I opened the card and read it to myself quietly and then spoke the final words aloud, “Signed, Sister Coretta.”
 
Mrs. King was born in Dothan, Alabama in 1931, and was raised an only child to Bessie May Barber. At the age of 5 years old, her mother decided to relocate them from Dothan to Atlanta, Georgia to live with her brother. We sat down across from each other on comfortable flower patterned beige cushions as Mrs. King reflected on her childhood. “All of the memories of my childhood are based on the things that children do and enjoy. I had a wonderful childhood. I did well in school and took piano lessons. I was very well loved and protected.”
 
 “What was your most fond memory as a child?” I asked.  Her voice changed and the gaze in her eyes became cloudy as they watered a bit. She replied, “I met my beloved husband when we were 12 and 13 years old at the YMCA. We became friends and you might say that our puppy love evolved. As my boyfriend he gave me all of the attention that any girl needed, leaving no stones unturned. My most fond memory was when I turned 16, and he surprised me with a Sweet 16 birthday party.”
 
After graduating from high school, Mrs. King enrolled in Spelman College in 1949 and left school after her first year to marry A.D. King in 1950. Rev. A.D. King stayed in school and graduated from Morehouse College, soon after beginning his pastoral career.
 
Mrs. King’s bright smile turned into a worrisome frown when I asked the question “Can you talk to me about the day your home was bombed in Birmingham on May 11, 1963?”
 
“Everyone has a story and if you don’t tell your story then it might not ever get told,” she said. Her voice became soft as she cleared her throat and spoke:
 
“On a Saturday night before Mother’s Day it was around 11 o’clock in the evening and I was in the dining room area preparing the table decorations for Mother’s Day. My husband was in the bedroom working on his sermon, and our five beautiful children; Alveda, Alfred II, Derek I, Darlene, and Vernon were in their rooms. After I finished decorating the table, I sat in the living room area. I noticed that the picture window began to crack, and I shrugged my shoulders as if it was nothing, and continued to decorate the table.
 
The Lord would have it that my husband came to the front of the home and he went to the front door, opened it, and looked up and down the street. He said to me, “Naomi let’s get out of here.” It was so quiet you could hear a cotton ball fall on the carpet. By the time we got to the center of our home that was when the first bomb went off and then a second bomb exploded and the front of the house was blown away. I believe the bombs caused me to have permanent hearing loss in one of my ears. By God’s grace all 7 of us were able to go out of the back of the home, and that no one was hurt. God has a time planned for everybody and a purpose for everybody. It was our time at that time to bring focus to the world on what was happening in Birmingham.”
 
This wouldn’t be their last encounter with a bomb. When Rev. A.D. King pastored a church in Louisville, Kentucky, the church was also bombed. And tragically just one year after the assassination of his beloved brother in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968, Rev. A.D. King was found dead at his home, lying in the family swimming pool.
 
To suggest that the King family has had more than their share of heartbreaks, does not begin to touch upon the trauma and devastation they have endured. Mrs. King has always relied on her faith. She reminds herself often to “fear not for God is with us always.” With all that she has been through, Mrs. King remains optimistic about Atlanta, and current conditions in the surrounding world. She believes that “there is good in people and that all problems can be worked out if we just sit down and talk to one another.”
 
We shared a warm smile of appreciation with each other when the interview concluded. Before leaving her home, Mrs. King pointed to a picture of Rev. A.D. King in her bedroom. She reflected on a time when her late husband asked a violinist to play a song while they were eating dinner at a restaurant. “That’s why I loved him so much. He was so thoughtful.” A true love story cut short too soon. Her life story is a testament of love, hope, and triumph.
 
Mrs. King continues to share her husband’s contributions and legacy as an activist and minister. She is a beloved mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and bright light to those in the church and communities she serves.
 
Author’s Note: Thank you to Dr. Babs Onabanjo, Co-Founder and CEO of the A.D. King Foundation for arranging the interview. More information can be found about Rev. Alfred Daniel “A.D.” King and Naomi Barber King at www.adkingfoundation.com.
 

Navy veteran recalls the second tragedy at Pearl Harbor

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Paul Greenwell, a Navy veteran, who lives at National Church Residences Lincoln Village in Columbus.

By LANCE CRANMER                                                                   lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

COLUMBUS – Paul Greenwell has no shortage of stories about his time in the Navy.

Diving in Connecticut’s Thames River wearing a homemade helmet constructed out of a five-gallon bucket … time spent on Midway Island in the Pacific watching the rising tide swallow up half of the base airport’s runway for a few hours each day … making a 320-foot dive while in deep sea diving school in Washington D.C. … and so many more.

But it’s the one that almost no one knows about that really brings out the passion in his voice.

“I’ll tell you something that is not in history books,” Greenwell said with a knowing grin as he sat in the community room at National Church Residences Lincoln Village on the west side of Columbus, Ohio. “May 21, 1944 was the second tragedy of Pearl Harbor.”

Known today as the “West Loch disaster,” the incident was kept a classified secret by the United States government for nearly two decades. Details of the disaster were released in 1960, but by then, enough time had passed that it failed to draw much public attention.

“There were 10 LSTs (Landing Ship Tank) loading ammunition at night, at dusk,” Greenwell said.

Although the government never announced an official cause, it is believed that the initial explosion happened when a mortar round on LST-353 detonated during an unloading operation.

The explosion rocked several of the ships, which were being packed with ammunitions in advance of an upcoming mission. Fire quickly spread from ship-to-ship as Sailors and Marines scrambled to get to safety.

“When I got there they were just raising (LST-480),” Greenwell said. “They sent us in, about 12 to 14 divers. We welded patches onto the ship to try and make it water tight.”

As a 2nd Class Diver, Greenwell had extensive experience diving to patch ships that had been damaged.

“One of my jobs was to crawl inside the torpedo tube and slide down inside it to see if there were any nicks,” he said.

This time, the situation was far more dire.

“(Many) lives were lost when those ships went down,” he said. “They were swimming through the burning oil on top of the water.”

As Greenwell and his fellow divers worked frantically to repair the sinking LST 480, he remembers the moment that changed everything.

“I was using a cutting torch on the bulkhead of the ship. I cut into an oil line,” he said. “The two didn’t mix. It exploded.”

Greenwell said a buddy of his was coming out of one of the ship’s hatches with his arms up in the air when the explosion happened.

“He wound up on the tank deck,” he said. “I blew up about 50 foot through the water. I was bleeding bad.”

An injured Greenwell made his way to safety and was examined by a doctor.

“The doctor said I had a slight concussion and I had a perforated ear drum,” he said. “The doctor said I’d get a Purple Heart. I never did get that. It’s OK. I didn’t want one.”

Officially it is said that 163 naval personnel died that day. Other sources have estimated the overall death total to be as high as 392 with an additional 400 wounded – including Greenwell.

A little more than a year later – the day before Thanksgiving 1945, in fact – Greenwell’s three-year Navy career was over and he returned to his job as a lake patrol officer on Illinois’ Lake Decatur before moving on to a bigger career.

“I worked for the federal government for 28 years as an industrial engineer,” he said.

He spent 22 years in active ministry as a pastor and finally became a counsellor at Reynoldsburg High School near Columbus before retiring to Lincoln Village.

“I always wanted to be a diver,” he said, looking back on his military career. “I weighed 119 pounds and the suit weighed 190.”

During his time in the Navy, Greenwell said that he “worked on every submarine in the Pacific fleet.”

Years after his retirement, he toured a decommissioned sub that was on display in Alabama.

“When I was in Mobile on that sub, they had pictures of the old crew members on display,” he said. “I recognized some of the faces.”

A Lifetime of Service to our Country

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Jerry Bullock, a Marine Corps veteran, at home at National Church Residences Lincoln Village in Columbus.

By LANCE CRANMER                                                                lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

COLUMBUS – Really, the only people out there who can poke fun at a Marine and get away with it are other Marines.

Jerry Bullock, a resident at National Church Residences Lincoln Village, joined the Marine Corps in 1962 when he and two friends decided to sign up together.

“Me and a couple of other guys at Marion-Franklin High School went in on the buddy system,” Bullock said. “We went to boot camp together, but we were never in the same Quonset hut.”

Bullock excelled as a Marine and began training in Advanced Infantry. It was the location of the boot camp, however, that got them their nickname.

“We went to boot camp in San Diego, California,” he said. “They called everybody who went to San Diego a ‘Hollywood Marine.’”

While he may have jokingly been ‘Hollywood’ at first, Bullock proudly served his country as a Marine, and later a member of the Navy and the National Guard, before a post-military career in civil service.

The memories of his long career?

“I wouldn’t trade them,” Bullock said.

His military experience truly began when after boot camp he was stationed in the Pacific.

“I went to Hawaii where I went into the weapons platoon,” he said. “Anti-tank assaultman. We trained and learned to fire the 3.5 inch, well, they call them bazookas now.”

Essentially a small rocket launcher, Bullock recalls the aftermath of repeatedly firing the weapons.

“I didn’t care for shooting them,” he said. “Wires would hit you in the face after they fired. You’d spend days picking those wires out of your face.”

Bullock spent two years in Hawaii – which was considered overseas duty at the time, even though Hawaii was a state. He followed up his time there for a brief training in Okinawa, Japan, before rotating back to the United States mainland.

“I ended up being an MP (Military Police) at Beaufort Marine Corps Air Station,” he said. “I was a Desk Sergeant in the Military Police.”

Bullock became part of the team that raised and lowered the flag every morning and night and also assisted other Marines with keeping their military IDs up to date. And then there were also the regular duties that came along with being an MP.

“You had to go to the enlisted club where the guys would get rowdy,” he said. “Have to go and keep them from breaking stuff up.”

With his four years of active duty coming to an end, Bullock was transferred back to southern California and Camp Pendleton.

“They wanted to send me to Vietnam,” he said. “But I only had seven months left to serve, so they kept me at Pendleton.”

There he was tasked with helping train Marines to swim while wearing their full equipment.

“It was to simulate abandoning a ship,” he said, adding that he had to act as a lifeguard on more than one occasion when soldiers struggled to stay afloat. “Lots of them. We let them take a little water first. If you don’t, they’ll grab onto you and drown you.”

Bullock was discharged in October 1966 and served two years of inactive duty before joining the Ohio National Guard and then the Navy for a year.

“When I came home I got a job in construction building the new post office here in Columbus,” he said. “With the weather the way it was and construction, I was only working about two days a week. So I took the post office exam and I passed in both Columbus and Grove City.”

Bullock accepted the position with the Columbus Post Office, where he would spend the next decade.

“I carried mail for 11 years until I injured my knee slipping on the ice. So I got disability from the post office. While I was in the Marines, with all the shooting we did, I lost hearing in my ears. So I get a pension from both the post office and the VA.”

Free program helps Permanent Supportive Housing residents train for careers in IT

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Commons at Livingston resident Tyren Thompson graduated from the Per Scholas program in Columbus on March 11. Here he received his certificate and pin from instructor James Miao.

By LANCE CRANMER                                                               lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

COLUMBUS, Ohio — About a year ago Tyren Thompson was facing some tough times.

“I had lost my apartment in May 2015. I was struggling for a little while,” he said. “Then someone suggested I set up an appointment with National Church Residences.”

Tyren, a United States Army veteran, quickly found a new home at Commons at Livingston, National Church Residences’ Permanent Supportive Housing facility in Columbus that is dedicated to providing housing for formerly homeless military veterans.

“They put me in with other veterans and I was thrilled with that,” Tyren said. “It’s been a great experience. They have a lot of services that are offered.”

Among those services available is career training.

Delrita Parks, the Employment Coordinator for National Church Residences Permanent Supportive Housing residents, suggested to Tyren that he enroll in Information Technology classes in a program called Per Scholas.

“Per Scholas is a national nonprofit organization that trains people for life-changing careers at IT professionals,” Delrita said. “The program’s focus is on helping unemployed and underemployed people get a career started in IT, which leads to their A+ certification and assistance in job placement with local companies and IT staffing agencies.”

Tyren graduated the program on March 11, 2016 and participated in the Graduation and Pinning Ceremony at the Per Scholas facility in Columbus.

After graduation he had a moment to reflect on the hard work he put in over the last year.

“I’ve worked very vigorously to get this done,” he said. “Getting up early, studying hard, all of those things.”

In his life, Tyren, who is 32-years old, has always worked hard to overcome adversity. He arrived in Columbus a decade ago from his native Louisiana after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

Now that he has graduated, Tyren said his next goal is to land a job in his field.

“Per Scholar benefits our residents because it’s a free program and trains for jobs that exist in a given market based on market data,” Delrita said. “This program is ideal for any resident who has been economically displaced but has the drive and aptitude to succeed in IT. National Church Residences is proud to have graduates from Per Scholas.”

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Deltrita Parks, National Church Residences Employment Coordinator, Tyren Thompson, Sara Perrotta, National Church Residences Case Manager, and Crystal Branch-Parms, National Church Residences Team Leader.

 

The Happiest Place in Housing! Dayton’s Lyons Place II

By LANCE CRANMER                                                                 lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

DAYTON, Ohio — Walt Disney may not appreciate calling it, “The Happiest Place on Earth,” but it is certainly the most satisfied spot in all of National Church Residences.

Lyons Place II, a 55-unit affordable senior housing facility managed by National Church Residences located on the campus of the Dayton (Ohio) VA Hospital, celebrated its first anniversary in April with the knowledge that it has the highest overall customer satisfaction rating in all of the organization’s properties.

“Imagine that,” said Francis Jensen, a Navy veteran and the very first resident of Lyons Place II.  “This is a wonderful place to live. From the get-go it’s been a Godsend. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

A nationwide survey based on nine components – readiness to solve problems, responsiveness, property appearance/condition, quality of management services, quality of leasing services, quality of maintenance service, property rating, relationship rating and renewal intention – gave Lyons Place II an overall satisfaction percentage of 97.1 percent.

“This translates to happy residents and speaks clearly to our Mission,” said Pam Monroe, National Church Residences Vice President of Property Management. “This quality and level of service is a key factor in building customer loyalty and keep them at the property.”

Shari Hoosier was hired in February 2015 to become the Property Manager at Lyons Place II – bringing with her 17 years of experience in the housing field.

“My philosophy is to try to make it a place where I would want to live,” Shari said. “I wanted a place with a great quality of life and a peaceful environment where people get along and they help each other.”

Being located on the grounds of a VA hospital, Lyons Place II naturally attracted several military veterans to become residents.

“I came for an appointment at the VA and I saw they were building here,” said Melvin Garland, a Marine veteran who moved in last April. “I checked into it at the VA and they got me hooked up. It’s a good location. It’s a safe building. We look out for each other and we have a good time.”

Shari said that several of her residents had struggled with homelessness or had lived in places where they weren’t free to live the way they wanted.

“They did not have their independence,” she said. “This building gave them their independence back. It’s theirs. And it’s an independent environment.”

“The word ‘independent,’ that is a blessing. They don’t hover over you. They’re a helping hand when you need it,” said Harold Owens, Sr., who moved in shortly after the building opened.  “You can go to bed a 9 if you want. You don’t have to turn the TV off. I can watch SportsCenter as much as I want to. I do whatever I want to. For a few years you can say I’m doing it my way!”

Charles Wright, a retired business owner who just turned 80, said that he’d lived in other facilities in Dayton, but he never felt at home until he arrived at Lyons Place II in July.

“I couldn’t get acquainted with others (at the other buildings). I came here and within a week’s time I had the whole building around me,” he said. “My kids told me, ‘Dad, it’s really nice to see you happy again.’”

Shari said that a big part of what she and the rest of the staff at Lyons Place II try to do every day is to let the residents know they’re cared for.

“Showing love. Just the act of kindness. Asking how they’re doing. Asking if they need any help,” she said. “If they feel loved, they show love to each other.”

“I’ve been half-way around the world and that’s the one thing that is world-renowned: kindness,” Harold said. “One morning I was depressed and I was coming out of my apartment and I passed by the maintenance guy and he just said something nice to me. It uplifted me. I told him thank you. He didn’t even know why.”

Charles agreed that the staff at Lyons Place II makes all the difference.

“The staff here, no way in the world you could beat this staff. No good reason to even try,” he said. “If you have a problem, they’re on it like stink on a skunk.”

Shari said that when she accepted the position at Lyons Place II she prayed that the people who needed this positive environment the most would find it.

“I got the unique opportunity to meet every resident as they applied. I prayed that God send the people who truly need to be here,” she said. “Since we’ve been here, every service that we’ve needed we’ve gotten. People have donated clothes, food. Every need has been met. That’s a blessing.”

Thinking about the last year he’s spent at Lyons Place II, Francis had one final thought.

“I ain’t going nowhere else but here,” he said. “I’m home. That’s it.”