Comforters Brighten Up Kane McKeesport

Comforters Brighten Up Kane McKeesport
Daily News Photo

Comforters Brighten Up Kane McKeesport
by Jennifer R. Vertullo, Daily News Staff Writer

A gift for one resident at John J. Kane Regional Center in McKeesport sparked an initiative to spruce up a full wing on the facility's fourth floor.

Rankin native Lissie Garrett, 80, has spent much of the past 20 years in nursing homes after becoming wheelchair-bound when she suffered a stroke.

Garrett settled at Kane a little more than one year ago and has built a reputation of being one of the facility's most colorful and witty residents. Her smile and sense of humor can brighten any room, and Garrett's niece Dorine Coleman wanted to give her aunt a gift that could do the same.

Coleman went shopping, looking for something that would make her aunt's room unique.

The room was just fine the way it was, but I wanted my aunt to feel more at home, she said.

She returned with a new comforter, quilted in soft pastel squares. It really brightened up the room, Coleman said. I just thought it would be nice if everyone on the wing could have one, so I went and looked to see what could be done.

She spent two months searching for comforters that fit her aunt's neighbors' styles and her budget. Some stores offered discounts when they learned of her mission.

Social worker Chris Thomas said 4B residents appreciated their gifts because the blankets give each room a cozy feeling, and residents know they have something that truly belongs to them.

A lot of people come and go. Some have things, and others don't, Thomas said. Residents' families bring things in, and when someone who wasn't a family member brought them gifts, they were very surprised and pleased.

Coleman said she's happy her gifts have made Kane residents feel more at home.

This is something they feel they have and they possess, she said. At this point in their lives, they need that. They don't have many belongings. They only have half a room to call their own because they live with a roommate. I wanted to make sure they can enjoy the space they have.

Overall, Coleman delivered approximately 60 comforters to Kane's 4B wing.

I'm there quite often, and I've gotten to know and love the residents, she said. That the Lord has allowed these people to live, we should take care of them. On behalf of my aunt and myself, I thought it would be nice to share our blessing with others.

Now that her blanket-purchasing project is complete, Coleman said she's moving on to other items. She has purchased shoes for many 4B residents and is shopping for other articles of clothing.

Coleman encouraged members of the McKeesport community to get involved with service projects at Kane and other area nursing facilities.

It's important for people to know how great sharing is, Coleman said. What is life without sharing? It's so much happier and fulfilling to be able to share your life with people.

Jennifer can be reached at The Daily News, phone: 412-664-9161 x256 or email:
Email toContact E-Mail