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Simon House earns prestigious recognition

September 19, 2018

Lucy Lutjelusche had no idea what to expect when she was invited to Norfolk for a special ceremony recently, but she didn’t come back empty-handed.

Lutjelusche, manager of Simon House Inc. in Columbus, accepted a 2018 Recovery Rally Award on behalf of the local nonprofit Christian organization that is committed to helping those in need in the Columbus area by supplying them with some of the basic needs of daily living at no cost, regardless of race, creed, opinion or sex. The “Outstanding Community Partner Award,” presented by Behavioral Health Specialists Inc. out of Norfolk, was given to the local nonprofit “in grateful recognition of your outstanding community partnership in your support of promoting access support of promoting access to care and effective treatment of those in need,” the plaque reads.

It marked the first time Simon House had been honored at the reception.

“It was a surprise. It’s such an honor; we’re very humbled to be recognized for all of the work a lot of us agencies do,” Lutjelusche said. “For us to specifically receive the award, it’s an honor. We’re grateful. I was kind of emotional when I accept it.”

Simon House helps those in the community in many ways. It provides clothing in times of need, as well as food and other necessary items, including diapers, paper goods, toiletries and baby formula. In addition, vouchers are available at local churches and other community agencies that, if approved, could make one eligible for various types of assistance, including rent, energy (paid utilities), medical and transportation.

The award recognition is nice, however, not what drives the nonprofit’s manager, employees and dozens of volunteers, who collectively, put in thousands of hours to help others.

On a recent afternoon, Lutjelusche made her way through the Simon House thrift store, which sees all of its proceeds benefit those in need and is open to the public, and its dynamic food pantry that features space for dried goods and frozen items. Then she got to the backroom, where volunteers and employees were going through thousands of donated clothes – men’s, women’s and children’s, household items and furniture. Every item was sorted and cleaned meticulously, because as employees and volunteers on hand said, they take pride in helping others.

Jim Bulkley, who sits on the nonprofit’s Board of Directors, said the award was indicative of the great work Simon House does for the community.

“This honor is a true testament to the efforts that the Simon House staff puts forward in offering help to those who needed it,” said Bulkley, who also is Columbus’ mayor. “We are blessed to be so fortunate.”

Matt Lindberg is the managing editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at matt.lindberg@lee.net.

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