Community renovates home for stroke victim

LEETONIA- Prayers are being answered in a Leetonia family.

Leesa Kozar, a 1985 graduate of Leetonia High School, suffered a stroke in January 2013, almost losing her life and leaving her paralyzed on the left side. High cholesterol flaked from her neck and traveled to her brain, causing the sudden illness that took everyone by surprise, totally unprepared for a new way of life requiring a handicap accessible home.

After months of trying to convert her home, Kozar is finally seeing her place remodeled to better fit her wheelchair, particularly her bathroom, which will be widened and equipped with a new sink, commode and walk-in tub to meet her needs and help her live more independently. Currently she has to be assisted in bathing due to limited mobility.

The project will be completed thanks to Home Depot and Crisis Response International.

“It’s a definite answer to prayer,” said Kozar, who lives with her husband Jim and son Ryan Finch, a senior in high school. She also has a 22-year-old daughter, Frankie Finch, no longer at the home.

“I’m overwhelmed by it, totally blessed,” she added.

Home Depot, through its Team Depot program, is providing the materials and Crisis Response International, featuring several members from the Victory Christian Center in Youngstown, is providing the labor. Pastor Francis Burkhart and the Tri-County Church of God in Salem is providing meals for the volunteers.

Kozar said a former classmate, Kim Steele, has a mother, Linda Steele, in Home Depot’s paint department and presented Kozar’s project to Team Depot.

“We like to take care of the community,” explained Anthony Sattarelle, operations manager at the Salem Home Depot. “We take advantage to be a full member of the community and it’s great to see everyone step up to help out.”

According to Pastor Dave Drespling, Crisis Response International assists families in need, mostly after tornadoes or hurricanes, but also on an individual basis such as the Kozars.

“We love to help out, show [those in need] that people really do care when they’re in dire situations, when is seems there’s no help,” he said.

“This is the real gospel, when you get your hands dirty.”