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Carson City businessman steps up to help

by F.T. Norton
ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com
Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal
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A Carson City businessman took action recently when he was contacted about an elderly woman living in squalor in her east Carson City mobile home.

Rick Corelli, owner of Rick’s Floor Covering, was asked by a board member of S.A.V.E. if he could take a look at Kathleen Lofthouse’s carpeting in her Dori Drive home.

Stop Abuse of the Vulnerable and Elderly, a program started by the District Attorney’s Office in July, was created to protect Carson City’s most vulnerable.

Lofthouse, 87, came to the attention of authorities when she went to S.A.V.E. for help with an unscrupulous relative who had taken advantage of her.

“I can take care of myself, but money for extra things that you never think are going to be needed, I just haven’t got it,” said Lofthouse.

Corelli said he took one look at Lofthouse’s carpeting, destroyed by a sickly dog and leaking pipes, and realized he had to do something.

“It was worse than bad shape. I hate to see anybody down in the dumps. Kathleen had been in a bad way for a while, so I checked out what I could do and we just did it,” said Corelli.

Two weeks ago Corelli brought a crew of five guys and enough padding and carpeting to cover Lofthouse’s living room, dining room, hallways and bedroom.

In one afternoon the crew tore out the decades-old carpet, bleached and painted the subflooring and installed the new carpet free of charge.

“It’s just a miracle there was so much good to come out of this. Our businesses say everything is so bad, but it’s things like this that just make everything possible,” said Frances Ashley, S.A.V.E. chairperson who went to Corelli for help. “It gives us a new hope.”

Lofthouse said the new carpet has done more than change the feeling of her home, it’s changed her life.

“I just want to stop and cry when I think about how someone would be that damn good and do something like this,” she said.

Frankee Haynes, the Carson City DA’s victim and witness advocate and S.A.V.E. board member, said initially the program was intended to look at cases criminally, but since its inception five months ago, their focus has evolved.

“(The program) has just manifested into this gamut of things that people need help with and we just can’t say that’s not our field,” she said. “These are our people. They are people in need. I think the agencies that we have working on elderly cases do the best they can, but we need to do more.”

Haynes said she anticipates S.A.V.E. will be making more calls into the community for help improving the quality of life for those on fixed incomes.

For Corelli, who’s owned Rick’s Floor Covering for 20 years, helping Lofthouse was a no brainer.

“You do what you can do,” he said. “I thought she can’t live like this. She’s having a tough time and I can help.”

Lofthouse said she can’t stop admiring her home and each morning she does something she hasn’t done in years.

“The first thing I do is put my feet down on it before I put my slippers on,” she said with a laugh. “It’s wonderful. I feel like I’m human now.”