THERE ARE angels among us.
Anyone who doubts that statement need only speak to Lisa Workman of Moore Ridge Road in Jerusalem to be convinced of their existence.
Workman recently nominated her "angel" to be featured in this month's "Hey, That's My Neighbor." Tapped for the honor was Barb Moore, an intervention case manager at Beallsville Elementary School, who along with many, many volunteers from the community are making a new home for Workman and her three sons.
LISA WORKMAN, left, leans her head on the
shoulder of a lady she calls her “angel” - Barb Moore. Moore, an intervention case manager at Beallsville Elementary School, organized a team of
volunteers and donations from the community to turn the shell of a house into a home for the Workman family who was
living in an aging house trailer.
Workman stated she and her sons, Daniel, 18; Christopher, 14; and Joseph, 12; made their home in a house trailer which had an abundance of problems and sat at the end of a long driveway that became so muddy even 4-wheel drive vehicles would become stuck. They have been living on the property since about 2000.
"For years, the problems with the trailer caused an overload of work for a mom who had to carry dishes to the laundry room to be washed as the sink was never fixed " wrote Workman, a single parent who's eldest son Mark, 28, now attends West Virginia University."During cold winters, the water lines would freeze up and stay that way until the climate changed. Of course, I bought water from the store but not having running water does create a lot of extra work."
Workman stated not having running water was stressful for the entire family.
"I'd rather have no electric than no water," she said. "But even without flowing water, I was able to keep my home clean and my children - even their fingernails. It wasn't easy but I made sure my boys didn't want for anything."
The trailer's age made remodeling impossible and there was no money to finish out the shell of a house that had been started on the property years before. Still, Workman, a woman of great faith, attempted to get help through several agencies.
"I was constantly making phone calls to try to get some help finishing the house or fixing up the trailer. I tried everything. I called everyone. However, no matter what agency I called, I always fell through the cracks - I wasn't old enough, the trailer was too old - it was always something," she said. "I talked to the children about moving but they love it here on the property. They've planted trees here, buried their beloved pets here and, well, it's our home."
While Workman prayed about her family's situation, her young son Christopher was talking to Moore.
Moore's job through Project Partnership - a collaboration through G.M.N. Tri-County C.A.C., Switzerland of Ohio School and the Monroe County Department of Jobs and Family Services, puts her in contact with students on a daily basis. There are case managers in each elementary school to help students overcome difficulties hindering their personal and social growth. The program concentrates efforts to meet the needs of families and the youths.
"Christopher came and told me about the situation in September," she said, noting the case managers help in a variety of ways including getting heating help for families and even helping get dresses to those who need them to attend a big dance. "We don't judge. We're here to help the families in any way we can - big and small.
"I told Christopher to tell his mom to call me. When she finally did call, I then made a few calls and by the end of the day I had myself - and some others - convinced this could be done. We could help this family. And, we started doing just that in October."
After deciding the family needed her help, Moore put together a team from the community - recruiting family, friends and strangers - to help finish the house.
"I am not a handy type of person," said Moore. "But I certainly learned a lot - like how to put in linoleum!"
Moore said Workman's sons also pitched in with the work.
"Daniel was really a big help. The kids all pitched in where they could," she said, noting the help from her husband Mike Moore was also invaluable. "We all got a lot of sore muscles."
Moore said helping the family has been a labor of love for her as well as the others.
"This family really touched us. Lisa is a wonderful mother who does the right thing by her kids. A lot of people in this situation would just have given up. She knows it doesn't cost a thing to love your kids and she does everything she can for them," she said. "This is a family that is going to make it."
Moore stated she hopes to have the Workman family in their finished home by the end of the school year.
"Winter held us up a little but we're almost there," she said, noting the community support has been tremendous as well as the support she has received from her employer to move forward with the project. "We started with just a shell. The community has really gotten behind us and offered supplies, money and manpower. I really don't think we could have done this any other place. Beallsville is just a wonderful town and really pulls together."
Workman said she is at a loss for words when she thinks of what has been done for her family.
"I used to be embarrassed of living thing way. I would walk down the drive to get the mail and jump behind a tree to hide if I heard a car coming. I didn't want anyone to think badly of me. But now I know you can't judge people by their homes, you have to judge them by what's in their hearts," she said. "I know there are people who have better house than I have but I have love. I'm just like them, I just don't live in such a nice house.
"I am reminded that I shouldn't worry about building my treasures up on Earth, I will build them up in heaven."
Always one to count her blessings - no matter how small - Workman shared a piece she recently wrote in her journal in which she stated she was "happy to report there are earthworms living in the bath tub."
"Well, it's still a blessing. There are a lot of people in this world who don't have a tub," she said. "At least I know the earthworms have a home."
Of Moore, Workman said, "She's just an angel. Prayers are answered. Our Father in heaven takes people like Barb and sends them on a mission."
Graham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.