Fred and Edna from the north end of Newark were good citizens and productive tax paying members of society. Then in 2001 tragedy struck and Fred needed a kidney transplant. Fred was only 56 years old and their lives had suddenly changed, but that was only the start. Fred then had a by-pass in his leg, followed by two heart attacks, a stroke, and now kidney failure.

He had to be taken to a healthcare facility for treatment; he now needs dialysis three times a week, expensive doctor care and medication. After 100 days in a healthcare facility and costly medical treatments, Fred and Edna’s finances were being depleted. This left no funds to make their home handicapped accessible, so Fred could return home and be with his loving wife Edna.

In mid-July, Edna heard through a friend about an organization called LEADS, the Community Action Agency in Licking County, which provides handicapped accessibility options to return people to their home and reunite families. Edna contacted LEADS to see if they could help. They were found to be eligible for assistance. Due to the gravity of the situation and the availability of local senior citizens funding, LEADS was able to expedite their response and quickly build a ramp so Fred could return home to his wife and the place he has lived for many years.

Although they were eligible and could have declined sharing in the costs, they would have no part of that! They scraped together what they could and contributed to the cost so others could have a second chance and an opportunity for help.

LEADS installs energy efficiency improvements and improves the quality of life for many senior citizens and handicapped individuals. This enables them to remain self-sufficient and in their home. Many studies have shown that keeping people independent and in their home is more cost effective and saves taxpayer dollars. In addition, it saves their clients’ personal dignity and increases life expectancy.

For more information about Community Action programs in your area, visit www.oacaa.org. Note, not all Community Action Agencies offer these programs.


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