Janice Lawrence Continues to Make Us Smile
What happens when a volunteer can no longer help out in person due to the pandemic restrictions? Janice Flescher Lawrence, a beloved volunteer at JGS Lifecare, found a way to still give back by painting brightly colored stones along our walkway. Her beautiful handiwork welcomes everyone who passes by. A few years ago Janice discussed her motivation for displaying her art. “When people are going to rehab, they most likely have experienced some sort of trauma,” explained Janice. “I want them to see something that makes them smile and let them know that someone cares. I hope my painted stones do just that.”
Today Janice continues to give back, even though she is now facing health issues and is confined to her home at Genesis House. Janice is still brightening the entryways to our facility by repainting the rocks she placed with such care and thoughtfulness over a year ago. Her efforts have certainly not gone unnoticed. Shannon Wesson, Director of Nurses at Leavitt Family Jewish Home, enjoys looking at the brightly colored stones every day. “I love walking by the happy images that are sprinkled at the foundation of our building and on the window ledge,” remarked Shannon. “They reflect the spirit, compassion and caring that permeate our facilities. Each stone is as individual as each of our residents.”
Janice recently donated a pair of her mother’s beautiful brass candlesticks to JGS Lifecare. The candlesticks, which had been in her family for years, were passed down from generation to generation. Janice’s mother was born in Yaniva, Russia sometime around 1898. She came to the USA with her family at the age of 13. Janice noted that her mother vividly remembered running into the woods with her brother, each of them holding a candlestick, while they were looking for a place to hide during a program. (Programs in the Russian Empire were large-scale, targeted, and repeated anti-Jewish riots that began in the 19th century.) By donating the candles to JGS, Janice will provide these heirlooms with a safe home where their legacy will be appreciated for years to come.
Janice also recalled a story about her Uncle Abe, her father’s identical twin brother. On April 13, 1918, during a battle near Apremont, France, Abe, a member of the 104th Regiment Yankee Division, volunteered three times to take ammunitions to the Yankee Division men held down by shellfire. He shot one German and bayonetted another. Her uncle was hit and ultimately, he lost an arm and an eye. The French Government decorated the 104th Regiment with the Croix de Guerre – the first time such an honor had ever come to an American unit. Upon Abe’s return from Walter Reed Hospital, more than 500 people were at the train station to greet him. He later received the Purple Heart.
Susan Halpern, Vice President of Development and Communications at JGS Lifecare, is amazed by Janice’s determination, dedication, and kindness. “Janice is driven to help others and make the world a better place,“ remarked Susan. “For 17 years she volunteered at Ruth’s House providing manicures, and has helped run our Gift Shop at the Home. With her background in retail sales, Janice brought a sense of style and creative merchandising to the shop, as well as a true gift for sales.” Added Halpern, “Our Gift Shop is currently closed, but Janice has found a way to keep giving and make people smile. We salute her for helping make JGS Lifecare such a very special place.”