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Heroes Among Us at LSMNJ

It takes a special person to love working for a non-profit and especially providing a safe home and compassionate care for seniors. It takes someone with a generous and giving nature who intuitively responds to the needs of others. We’d like you to meet Willie Andrews and Matthew Goodsier—staff who exemplify the LSMNJ spirit and recently went above and beyond for those we serve.

At Lutheran Crossings Enhanced Living in Moorestown, Willie Andrews works for Morrison Senior Living, our partner in housekeeping services. Each evening he can be found in the laundry making sure that residents and staff will have all the fresh linens and other laundered supplies they need for the next day. Willie is a tall but not imposing man with a ready, wide smile and gentle demeanor.  Just saying hello to him for the first time, you feel as though you’ve been friends for years. And at first glance, you may not realize that he is an unsung hero within LSMNJ.

Several weeks ago Lutheran Crossings experienced a brief fire in a laundry room dryer. Willie was the first on the scene. Following standard safety response procedures, he called 911 and then—without concern for himself--extinguished the flames. Although Willie says, “I just did what I had been trained to do,” his quick and selfless actions greatly minimized the event. Willie later made a joke of being treated for smoke inhalation. “You know you’ve had enough extra oxygen when you think you can smell it!”

Asked why he entered the smoke filled room three separate times, Willie simply said that he wanted to be certain his residents and other staff would not be in jeopardy from re-ignited flames. When you think of LSMNJ and Lutheran Crossings, think of Willie Andrews who lives our mission each day and puts the safety and well-being of residents . . . first.

Matthew Goodsier, who works in northern New Jersey at Crane’s Mill Retirement Community, also exemplifies the spirit of our mission. A veteran who served two tours in Iraq with the 101st Airborne, Matthew has worked for LSMNJ for over three years as maintenance operations assistant. He is well known around the Crane’s Mill community to both staff and residents, as a friendly and helpful face. Recently, he was inspired to reach out beyond his day-to-day work to help those in need, this time through a post he saw on social media.

"I follow LSMNJ on Facebook, and they posted a picture of the New Visions Homeless Day Shelter pantry. Seeing those bare shelves motivated me to make a donation.” And donate he did, ordering four cases (96 cans) of Vienna Sausages to be delivered directly to the shelter. “I ordered online through Amazon. It was easy to do, but I wouldn’t have thought to donate if it weren’t for seeing that post."

Matthew also plans to send laundry detergent to the shelter. “I learned the shelter needs more than just food, but also basic necessities like toiletries and toothbrushes.”

With the holidays around the bend and cold temperatures in the forecast, the need for food and personal supplies will turn dire quickly. So, we are extremely grateful to Matthew for his spontaneous and generous contributions.  When we concluded our interview with him, he ended with a heartfelt message that reflects his giving nature.

"I hope this donation inspires others to give, and not just around the holidays, but all year long.”