By Lance Mihm
LIMA — Life was going just fine for 56-year-old Ellen just 10 short years ago.
However, unfortunate circumstances have met her around just about every turn since them.
Ellen was married, held a job and had a son. Things then slowly began to go downhill. Her marriage fell apart and resulted in divorce. Later on, she was involved in an automobile accident in 2005. The accident revealed she had degenerative disc disease. The pain was often too much to bear, and she had to call in work frequently, resulting in the loss of her job.
Sadly, things had not yet reached bottom. Coming to the aide of a relative, Ellen took out a home equity loan for some financial trouble they were facing. Ellen had worked out an agreement for them to pay her for the loan. Months went by and Ellen never received payment from her loved one.
“Its been a hard road,” Ellen said. “Maybe I was a little too trusting. I was paying for it all myself. I lost my home because of it.”
Despite limited income, Ellen tried to pay the loan and keep other bills paid as long as she could, but she soon fell too far behind. A year ago her son reached age 18, so child support payments stopped. Ellen was functioning on only $237 a month, receiving a percentage of her ex-husband’s pension. Her home was foreclosed on and auctioned off.
“That was the hardest thing to face,” Ellen said. “That had been my home for 30 years. I also had personal items that can never be replaced, but I had nowhere to put them.”
Ellen was able to find a friend to stay with for a short time, but soon had to move out because of the friend’s lease agreement. She is now living in a homeless shelter trying to reclaim her life.
After a long battle trying to claim disability, she finally was able to get approved after a four-month fight. She still has not received her first payment.
Ellen told her story with tears in her eyes, but still seemed optimistic for the future. She is not looking for conventional Christmas gifts, she just wants to gain back some sense of self-reliance.
Ellen’s car was her only way to get to her doctor’s appointments, but she has relied on friends for transportation. Her car is in need of a new starter, tires and a battery. She also owes $1,400 more on the vehicle.
“Everyone has been so nice to take me around to my appointments,” Ellen said, “but I would like to get to where I didn’t have to rely on others to get to the doctor.”
Ellen said she is sometimes upset with herself because she feels like she should not have helped the relative.
“You know what they say about hindsight,” she said, “but I was just trying to do the right thing.
Reach Lance Mihm at 567-242-0409 or at Twitter@LanceMihm.
The Empty Stocking Fund benefits three cooperating agencies, Bradfield Community Center, Mizpah Community Center and the Salvation Army. Money can be donated by sending it to The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima OH 45807, or by dropping it off at any Superior Credit Union branch. Donations of new toys and nonperishable food items will be accepted at The Lima News office. These stories use assumed names to protect the participants’ privacy.