Sue Krestakos was one of Steepletown’s first mentors when Steepletown began pairing members of one of the three original Steepletown Parishes with neighborhood households facing financial struggles. After Sue worked with a couple young mothers, she was then introduced to Lisa Glatz. At that time Lisa was a single mother who was unemployed, homeless, and renting a room over near Plainfield. Initially she was just looking for support, but Sue found herself helping Lisa move into a new apartment. Over the years Sue recounts how she helped Lisa move three more times. Now 20 years later Sue continues to walk alongside Lisa as a friend.
Over the years Sue has maintained this relationship because as Sue describes, “Lisa needed someone consistent in her life with whom she felt safe.” This relationship over the years changed from being a mentor to being friends, as Lisa considers Sue her “great family member”. Sue shares how this friendship with Lisa has enriched her life, especially as she looks upon people who live in more impoverished areas of the City. She is no longer afraid and better understands the challenges that those on the margins of society have to endure to make ends meet. She also learned that the life that people live are not always of their choosing, and that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity. She knows that up until they met, Lisa had not been treated with dignity for many years.
Sue recalls a conversation with Fr. Ray Rau many years ago when he stated that there are people that are not capable of holding a job. Fr. Ray spoke from experience, as he and his wife Carlene had adopted four foster children who struggled with employment. Sue shared that Lisa has lost a lot of jobs over the years. Fortunately Lisa just underwent a more indepth assessment and it was determined that she not have a job any longer and that she have a legal guardian. It has been recommended that Sue become her legal guardian at this time until someone else is able to take on this role.
Sue states: “It has been a joy to be with Lisa over the years. Everyone who meets Lisa almost instantly appreciates who she is and offer their assistance in supporting Lisa. I never thought that when I first got into this that I would be doing this 20 years later.”
Lisa now lives at Mount Mercy Apartments. She has never been able to drive, and expressed gratitude for Sue’s willingness to run her around to do errands, and to simply pick her up for short day trips just to get out of the house and keep company for the day. Lisa shared, “Having Sue as part of my life has made a big difference. I lost most of my family over the years and she has taken over almost as a great family member. She helps me with my paperwork, organizing some of my basic needs, and even grabbing lunch once in awhile.”