For more than a quarter century, Scotch Plains resident Eula Andrews, 74, has doled out her special brand of TLC to many of America’s forgotten heroes, providing long-term housing for veterans of war. She’s done this in her own modest suburban home, allotting three of her seven rooms to her charges, who lack homes or families to help them.
Andrews, who retired from Merck in 1993, is a state-certified nursing assistant and provides the veterans with a bed, meals and snacks, housekeeping, laundering, medication monitoring, and transportation to doctor appointments. She also offers invaluable personal interaction for her boarders, a number of whom suffer from post-traumatic stress and other disorders. Her day typically begins at 5 am and her head doesn’t hit the pillow until 10 at night.
“I simply show them love,” says Andrews, who hails from a military family. “And they love it here. They don’t feel institutionalized or warehoused.”
Her guests, whose service ranges from World War II to Desert Storm, pay her only what they can afford out of their veterans’ benefits and stay with her for five years on average. Andrews does not receive any funding for her efforts. Last year, she established the Focus on Caring Foundation (focusoncaring.org) to raise money for an additional, larger housing unit that would accommodate referrals from the Lyons Campus of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ NJ Health Care System.
“I just get such enjoyment out of doing for them,” she says, her eyes welling with tears. “It’s very rewarding.”Click here to leave a comment