Aug 19The Mayor of Assisi Homes of Kenosha
After living in a single-family home for many years, William needed a more affordable home in the community and was happy to find Assisi Homes of Kenosha, a Mercy Housing Lakefront community for older adults in Wisconsin, where he has resided for 25 years.
His fellow residents lovingly refer to him as the ‘Mayor.’ “He really is a staple here. He is a familiar face to everybody,” said Cassandra Courtright Krusa, the Resident Services Coordinator at Assisi Homes of Kenosha.
William was born in 1933 in Los Angeles, California, into a big, close-knit family. William followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. “I had 33 years with Amtrak. I started with the Pullman Company, and I went from the Pullman Company to Santa Fe Railroad. I was a chair car attendant. I took care of the needs of the chair car passengers. I collected tickets, and I did a little bit of everything. A lot of people did it for the tips. That’s how we survived – off of the tips. If your service was really good, you got big tips,” reflected William about his career.
Today, William is enjoying retirement and being a proud father of two daughters with two grandchildren. “I have two granddaughters in New Orleans. The youngest one just got her double master’s last May, and the oldest one is a lawyer for the city of New Orleans. We believe in education. They always say an education was a way to rise against the odds.”
William also stays busy participating in the programming offered at his Mercy Housing Lakefront community. “William participates in any kind of programming. If he’s here and available, he’s participating. We just started the Strong Body class that he committed to. It’s strength training twice a week and a nutrition session, and it also helps with balance. He’s also open and willing to learn and try new things,” said Cassandra.
William believes that participating in programs like the Strong Body class is beneficial to his health and well-being. “You have to give of yourself to get something. That’s why I believe in participating. It will come to me tenfold,” said William. In fact, it has. William recently experienced a serious health challenge, but he was able to recover and return to living independently in his apartment home, thanks in part to his active participation in programs like the Strong Body class.
Fortunately, with his new bill of health, he was able to take a train from Chicago to Los Angeles to attend an Amtrak reunion, a well-deserved celebration that he had looked forward to for many months. William said this about his home at Assisi Homes of Kenosha: “I’m just so glad to be connected.”
“I’ve been here longer than anyone in the building. I’m the mayor. I’m just so glad to be here.”
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