Elderly woman has call for help answered by generous teenagers

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Katherine Lusher has heard Kansas City will be issuing $80 tickets to residents who don't clear their sidewalks, to which she responded, “I'm 71 years old!"

Even walking through the piled up posed a challenge for Lusher.

"Went over to my neighbors, and made two tracks there that came up to just below my knees, and that's all I can do," said Lusher, who has been snowed in since Tuesday.

Lusher said physically the task would be too arduous, and she can't afford to have somebody do it for her.

"Then I heard that they were going to give $80 tickets for anybody not having their sidewalks clean," she said, "I'm 71 years old, I don't have the body to do that kind of work, and I don't have the money to pay somebody else to do it!"

She said she called the police department and the mayor's office, but they both told her they can't help.

"She says, 'I'm sorry ma'am there's nothing we can do about it,'" said Lusher, "And I said, 'You mean for 71 years old, and I have no money to have someone do the work for me, I'm going to get an $80 ticket?' And she says, 'Yes ma'am.'"

Pamela Seymour, the executive director of the Shepherd's Center-Kansas City, an organization that helps older adults by delivering things like food and medicine to them, said that she wants to see others step up in a time of need.

"It should be a community involvement. There are healthy people who are looking for exercise, looking for things to do, and I think we just need to be more aware," Seymour said.

She said she understands it's difficult for the city to help every single person, because this weather is making it tough for her organization to do its job.

"If the sidewalks have eight inches of snow, if the steps going up to the door are covered in eight inches of snow and you can't even get the door open, doesn't really do a whole lot of good," Seymour added

Mayor Sly James said tickets will only be issued on a complaint basis, but Lusher said there should be a more obvious way to deal with this situation.

"Have a way to find out who these older people are, what kind of help they need. I mean, the city should be doing this, too, as well as cleaning up the roads for these young people going to work. We are people!" Lusher said.

Lusher said she didn't know where to turn until a few boys from Higher Impact showed up. It's a youth leadership group that helps out in the community.

"It makes me feel good about giving back to my community and this is around where I grew up, so I want to do as much as I can for the people who can't do it," said 15-year-old Morgon Peterson, a member of the group.

Lusher was very grateful.

"I think that is marvelous," said Lusher, "I didn't know there were such young people in the world."

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  • Sheila Baker

    Are her neighbors all older too? Can’t any of them help out when they shovel their walks? Seems to me one on each side could do half and neither one of them would be hurt. I am not quite as old but in the same situation. Can’t afford to pay someone to do the shoveling. Thank you to the young people that helped here without expecting payment in return. Not very many do that anymore. All are out to make a dollar while doing the least amount of work.

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