A simple ramp makes a difference for one Huntington couple, thanks to NNORC

Emmet (left) and Shirley (center) Cox stand on the ramp at the entrance to their Huntington home that was built with grant money funneled through the Huntington NNORC. With them (at right) is Linda B
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Emmet and Shirley Cox met in Huntington, traveled the world and came back to Huntington to retire.

Emmet gets around with the help of a walker, and the steps at the front door of their home hampered his comings and goings.

Enter the Huntington NNORC (Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Community) Project, which has a goal of making it easier for Seniors to continue living in their own homes. NNORC has some grant money it can use to make modifications to Seniors' homes that can accommodate Seniors' changing needs.

Part of that money was used to build a ramp at the entrance to the Coxes' home, making it unnecessary for Emmett to negotiate the front steps with a cane. The ramp was completed a couple of weeks ago.

"It makes it much easier to get out," Emmett says.
"And safer," Shirley adds.

NNORC also paid to have an electrical outlet installed in the Coxes' living room, keeping a lamp cord from trailing across the floor.

And NNORC has a limited amount of money left to perform similar work to other Seniors' homes, says NNORC Director Linda Bordeaux. Anyone who is at least 60 years old, owns their own home, and lives in the designated NNORC neighborhood (an area roughly bounded by Broadway, Bus.-24, Division Street, Oak Street and East State Street) can find out about the program by calling the Huntington County Council on Aging at 359-4410.

The Coxes first became familiar with the NNORC Project several years ago, when it was in the beginning stages, and attended several informational meetings about the project. They invited Council on Aging Director Holly Saunders into their home to see what they could use, and the result was the ramp and the electrical outlet.

The couple - she grew up in Ontario, and he's originally from Kansas - first came to Huntington to attend Huntington College, a school operated by the United Brethren denomination they both belong to. The couple served several stints as missionaries in Africa and Emmet Cox pastored churches across the United States, retiring ("sort of," Shirley says) from a church in California in 1992. They moved back to Huntington, to a house they'd bought in 1975, but lived in for just a year.

Emmett's retirement didn't last long. He went back to work serving as a pastor at the Six Mile Church in Bluffton, where he stayed from 1992 until 2003, when his health forced him to truly retire.

The NNORC Project is designed to be of assistance to Seniors like the Coxes, Bordeaux says.

In addition to assistance with home modifications, she says, NNORC is also compiling a list of contractors and service providers that will be accessible to Seniors at the Huntington City-Township Public Library. Bordeaux is looking for local contractors willing to be included in that list. They'll need to call 359-4410 to apply, she says.

She wants to list providers who can perform major and minor home repairs and maintenance, inside and out; people who can do household chores; medical, financial, spiritual, emotional, and recreational resources; and people willing to perform any other everyday tasks.

Those doing the work will be paid by the Seniors they're working for, Bordeaux says.