Love Thy Neighbor
(revised By: LaToya Torrence)
“Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”- a version of the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, that a multitude of people follow daily. This rang true for “neighbors” LaVette and Edith (Louisville, KY).
In 1970, a time where tension was still extremely high, just a couple years shy of the race riots in Louisville, KY, Edith, a Mississippi transplant, and her husband planted roots in the once wealthy suburban area of the Parkland community. While Most businesses and many residents had left Parkland after the riots, Edith and her husband saw an opportunity to give their family a “better life”. Edith and her husband would go on to reside in the large, rambling home on Dumesnil Street and raise their family there for the next 50 years. This home became (and continues to be) the center of the family (the hub so to speak).
As time went on, Edith was faced with some health issues, including suffering a stroke, which left her wheelchair bound. Not wanting to leave her home (and be placed in a facility), Edith’s children and grandchildren stepped up to help provide her with the care in which she needed. While this would make Edith happy, this was not an easy task to take on for anyone involved. The home that Edith and her family had been in for almost 50 years, had grown “older” right along with the family and in turn needed some work done on it as well. The house only had one bathroom, which was located upstairs. In order to bathe Edith, her children would come over and carry her up the two flights of stairs. Edith also had to rely on her family to carry her in and out of the house.
LaVette was from the Chickasaw community, a predominantly black, middle class community in Louisville, KY. She had been the care giver to her friend, who was a quadriplegic, for many years. When her friend passed away, LaVette found herself with a supply of medical equipment, including a wheelchair ramp, that she no longer needed. Knowing that she wanted to make sure that the equipment didn’t go to waste, LaVette reached out to Hand in Hand Ministries. She knew that Hand in Hand Ministries did work in the community to help keep people in their home and thought “maybe they know someone who could use the ramp.” This couldn’t have come at a better time! One of Edith’s children had just submitted a request for help which would include a wheelchair ramp so that Edith could move around more freely (and it would be easier to get her in and out of the house).
With the help of teams from Mercy Academy, Villanova University and a joint team from St. Xavier High School and Trinity High School, they were able to disassemble and move the ramp from LaVette’s home and reassemble it at Edith’s home. What a help this was for Edith and her family. As the team was working to assemble to the wheelchair ramp, they learned that Edith and her family needed a little more help than just a wheelchair ramp outside of the home. At this time the team learned that the family was carrying Edith up the flights of stairs to bathe amongst other things. After accessing the inside of the property, the team learned that Edith actually had room adjacent her first-floor bedroom, to place a new handicapped accessible bathroom. Teams from Our Lady of Lourdes, Middletown Christian Church, Graybar Electric and our monthly group retirees, help add a new handicapped assessable bathroom adjacent to Edith’s first floor bedroom. The fixtures for this bathroom were donated by Marvin Maeser Plumbing.
Thanks to the generosity of LaVette and the joint effort of these teams, Edith today has the freedom to come and go from her home and now can live a safer and more independent life in her home.