GLEN DALE, W.Va. (WTRF) – It’s been a dream years in the making to provide a hospitality house for Marshall County.
They’ve rallied the community around them, and now Kathy’s House Foundation finally has a place they can help others call home.
What started as a way to honor the memory of their sister Kathy Criswell-Martin quickly grew into something much more for the Criswell family. Over the past few years they’ve fundraised, given out Kathy Bags to hospital patients in need, helped support Noah’s Pantry, survived the setbacks of the pandemic, and finally they’re ready to open Kathy’s House.
The family tells 7News during an exclusive look at the new location, as as hard as they’ve worked to make this happen, they think fate may have stepped in to help.
We know we’re being looked at from above because all these things, so many things that have come together to create Kathy’s House have been way beyond our control.Kenn Criswell, Kathy’s House Foundation
No matter how it happened, Kathy’s House now has a permanent home on Glen Haven Avenue in Glen Dale.
We were very blessed with this property. We truly feel that we were led to the property. The sign went up one day, the wheels started turning and everything fell into place.Jane Criswell, Kathy’s House Foundation
It’s a place for families in need to gather when times are tough, much like this family gathered at the home of Kathy Criswell-Martin.
If she could see all of this the first thing she would do is yell at Kenn and I and say ‘what are you doing?’. She would say her name doesn’t belong attached to this because that’s how she was. She was a very humble person and she didn’t feel like she did anything out of the ordinary.Jane Criswell, Kathy’s House Foundation
Kathy was a nurse and gave so much to others in need. In turn, her family hopes to do the same in her memory with Kathy’s House.
As another twist of fate, it’s a home that’s familiar to the family.
My Mom and Dad used to come pick me up here after baseball practice with my dear friend Dave Strawn, whose family owns the house.Kenn Criswell, Kathy’s House Foundation
Kenn explains he grew up in this neighborhood, so they were drawn to this home.
It’s everything they’d hoped for within walking distance of WVU Medicine Reynolds Memorial Hospital and St. Jude Park.
Lucille Strawn, who is the owner of the house, was adamant about wanting to do something positive and sell to someone who was going to do good with the house.Kenn Criswell, Kathy’s House Foundation
Kathy’s House will certainly do some good.
It’s more than just a hospitality house opening its doors to families who need to be closer to the hospital for medical treatment.
The Criswells also plan to open the house to families coming in from out of town to grieve or lay their loved one to rest. It will even be available if someone is displaced by a flood or fire.
They plan to ask for a small daily fee, but if a family can’t pay, they’ll work around it.
Just like Kathy we won’t turn anybody away.Jane Criswell, Kathy’s House Foundation
The Criswells will also honor another member of their family on the property, their brother, who passed away since they started the foundation.
He loved to garden, so with the lot next door we’re going to be able to put in ‘Jack’s Garden’ and so when people come to the house they’ll have fresh vegetables to be able to eat while they’re here.Jane Criswell, Kathy’s House Foundation
Even the garage will be used for good as a home for Noah’s Pantry. That way in addition to deliveries, they will also be able to do a food pick-up for those in need.
Kathy’s House will be welcoming its first family in July. Then the foundation will do a few renovations to make it more commercial and handicap accessible before holding a grand opening celebration for the community.