A Moving Experience

Written by

“Yeah, I have furniture, but I don’t have no way to get it here.”

Lela, 54, was talking to her case manager about her new apartment, spartanly furnished with only a mattress on the floor, a card table and a lawn chair.

Lela suffers from pinched nerves in her neck and lower back, spinal stenosis, spinal spondylosis and scoliosis, among other diagnoses. Which means, according to Lela, that her spine is “pretty well shot.” As a result, she is on permanent disability and spends most of her time in an electric wheelchair.

“There are times when I am doing really good, and I can get around with a walker, but those are few and far between,” Lela explained.

The case manager called CICOA volunteer coordinator Dan Amonett, who in turn called several churches in Lela’s neighborhood for assistance before connecting with volunteer extraordinaire Dave Withey. Withey, 61, is a “pivot person” for a whole network of volunteers, Amonett said.

Although his career focused on networking computers at Lily, Withey’s focus in retirement seems to be using his handyman and networking skills to benefit others. He maintains a list of 80 to 100 people whom he can call on at any time to provide home repair and home modification services, often benefitting CICOA clients.

Suffering from a recent back injury himself, Withey knew he wasn’t in any condition to be lifting boxes or furniture. But when he put out a call for help, a team of six to eight people volunteered.

On a Saturday morning, the volunteers loaded Lela’s belongings into a truck, provided by Immanuel United Church of Christ. Four hours later, the boxes had been moved, the furniture arranged, and the hospital bed assembled. Lela directed volunteers from her wheelchair, holding her little Chihuahua, Taco, in her lap.

“There’s nothing I can put into words to describe how grateful I am for all their help,” Lela said. “I can never repay them for what they did.”

For Withey’s part, he describes volunteering simply: “It’s nice to be part of a good thing.”

More News & Stories

Dandelion blowing a sign of change

Investing for Good: A New Era in Philanthropy

In a world where change is the only constant, the words of Bob Dylan's iconic song, "The Times They Are A-Changin'," resonate more than ever. Within the sphere of philanthropy, these words couldn't ring truer. Recent research has revealed a...
Safe at Home Making Homes Safer for Indianapolis Seniors

Fall Clean-Up Has Become One of My Favorite Days of the Year

CICOA sponsors its 13th Safe at Home Sept. 16 Every 11 seconds an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall, according to the National Council on Aging. That’s a staggering statistic. Yet so many falls can...
Lillie Ford Indianapolis senior aging in place safely at home thanks to local nonprofits

From Stumble To Strength: Reclaiming Independence After Falls

Lillie was working as a DeCA teller at the Harrison Village Commissary at Fort Ben on Indy’s northeast side in 2016 when an odd thing happened: She began losing her equilibrium and falling. A lot. She fell downstairs. She fell...