Organizations unite to makeover home on Tiger Mountain
July 9, 2013
By Dan Aznoff
More than a dozen volunteers from the Eastside gave up the first sunny Saturday of the summer to provide some much needed safety upgrades on the singlewide mobile home occupied by an elderly woman who lives on Tiger Mountain.
Members of the I-90 Church in Issaquah teamed with volunteers from Eastside Friends of Seniors to install a wheelchair ramp to the outside deck, and repaired rotted boards on the porch where Leila Forbeck fell and broke her leg in 20 places in September. The unpaid workers also replaced and painted drywall that had been damaged when the water heater in the tiny trailer failed several months ago.
Later in the day, volunteers tore out the worn carpeting that piled up near the front door and laid down new floor covering. They also stacked firewood on the porch that Forbeck can use to heat her home this winter. The trailer does have a small electric space heater, but the elderly woman relies on a small wood stove as her main source of heat, according to Claire Petersky, executive director of Eastside Friends of Seniors.
“New carpet and the ramp will give our client better access in and out of her home,” Petersky said. “Before last weekend, there would have been no way for her to get out of her house safely if there had been a fire.”
Petersky described Lee (as she is known to her friends) as “very low income,” explaining that Social Security provides her only income. Forbeck has a cat; her daughter visits and does her laundry.
Because of her accident and the need to use a walker, Forbeck has difficulty with items she stores on the top shelves of cabinets. Before they left for the day, the volunteers cleaned many of the high and hard-to-reach places that were covered in dust and soot from the wood stove.
“We knew in advance that the day we had scheduled to do the work at her house was also her birthday, so one of our members baked a cake and we sang her ‘Happy Birthday,’” said Stu Linscott, from the I-90 Church.
The church office has an Issaquah address, but members gather for services every Sunday in a transformed warehouse in Preston.
Volunteers from Eastside Friends of Seniors have given Forbeck occasional rides to medical appointments in the past as well as transportation to the Issaquah Care Clinic for regular blood draws required to maintain her medication levels. The organization also sends people to help Lee with groceries and provide her with companionship.
Eastside Friends of Seniors is dedicated to helping seniors maintain their independence by providing assistance with routine maintenance and rides to medical appointments. The services of the organization are provided free of charge to qualified seniors.
The organization operates out of offices at Mary, Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Sammamish and has served the needs of seniors on the plateau and Issaquah for more than 15 years. The volunteer-based group has expanded its services and area of coverage to include seniors in the Snoqualmie Valley (in 2010) and Bellevue (in 2012).
There are no financial requirements. The services of Eastside Friends of Seniors are available to any resident in the community who live independently and are at least 60 years old.
The single largest expense of the day was the $200 needed to purchase 2-by-4 lumber for the ramp and additional support for the trailer. In addition to the cost of materials, the volunteer groups paid the dump fee for items removed from the site.
The second annual Gathering for Seniors to support the mission of Eastside Friends of Seniors is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 11, at the Bellevue Hilton. King 5 meteorologist Jeff Renner has agreed to serve as host again this year for the luncheon. Reservations can be made through the EFS website or by calling 369-9120.
Dan Aznoff is a freelance writer who lives in Bellevue and specializes in sharing the stories of seniors in our community. He also serves on the Board of Eastside Friends of Seniors. His website is www.dajournalist.com/ForTheRecord.
how to help
Donations to cover the Tiger Mountain project can be made through the Eastside Friends of Seniors website at www.eastsidefriendsofseniors.org.