A family in Marshall County is remembering their loved one by continuing her service to the community.
“Life was good as long as she was doing something for somebody else.” That’s how Jane Criswell-Rickman describes her sister Kathy Criswell-Martin.
Kathy’s family said her two children and three grandchildren were her world. She also loved her husband, three siblings, nieces and nephews and her entire family more than anything.
“My sister Kathy was the head of our family,” Criswell-Rickman said. “We lost our parents when we were pretty young, so she stepped up and she took care of the family. She loved family. She loved family gatherings. She liked getting together with everybody.”
But she was also selfless when it came to her work as a nurse.
“The amount of caring, compassion that she held for friends, neighbors, the entire community of Marshall County was amazing,” said Kathy’s brother Kenn Criswell.
When Kathy passed away suddenly in 2016, hundreds of people showed up to her funeral, and that’s when her family realized they needed to keep her legacy going.
Her giving spirit inspired Kathy’s House Foundation, so that her love of helping others continued.
The foundation began giving back by making “Kathy Bags” with the help of the Kohls Cares Volunteers for patients at WVU Medicine Reynolds Memorial Hospital.
“We have done probably close to a thousand of them now that we have filled and donated to the hospital here for patients,” Criswell-Rickman said.
Now the foundation is working towards opening a hospitality house near the hospital, to help patients and their families across Marshall County.
“We want to provide a home-like environment for people long-term and their families here at the hospital, at the cancer center where they have the place to spend overnight,” Criswell said.
Kathy’s family told 7News that to have a “Kathy’s House” is their dream, and will ensure her lasting legacy.
“It helps us a family kinda continue on with the loss of Kathy,” Criswell said. “She touched so many people. We just want to make sure that her presence continues to do so with Kathy’s House.”
“It will be a place that we can look at and know without a shadow of a doubt that we are doing what she wanted done,” added Criswell-Rickman.
Kathy’s House Foundation will be kicking off fundraising for the hospitality house with a steak fry benefit.
It will be held on August 25 from 4:00 to 11:00 p.m. at St. Jude Park in Glen Dale. The cost is $25 per person.
For tickets call Susan at 304-650-4291.
For more information on Kathy’s House Foundation, visit its Facebook Page.
If you’d like to donate, click here for the organization’s Go Fund Me page.