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Angela Ellsworth - Artist, Lilly Nutter - Everyday Star (A-4)

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Angela Ellsworth, Professional Artist

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Lilly Nutter.  Photo taken by Bryan Anselm for an article written by Julie Creek for the February 18, 2011, AARP Bulletin.  Click here for the article.

When I was asked to be a part of the Murosity Project I was a little overwhelmed not just by the project itself but by the request to come up with my “Everyday Star.”  There are so many people that do so many good things for others that I thought it would be nearly impossible to pick someone.  It was really important for me to pick someone that not only is out there “getting their hands dirty,” so to speak, but someone I could connect with personally.  I am a Marine wife and the men and women in the Armed Forces mean a great deal to me; so I ultimately chose to find someone that goes above and beyond in helping our troops; especially those currently serving overseas in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Even though these individuals share a common bond with each other; the isolation and loneliness that accompanies them on overseas deployments that take them away from home and loved ones  (especially deployments that put them in harm’s way), is a tremendous source of stress.  Getting something from home is not only a boost to their morale but also a symbol of what they hold so dear:  our support.  That is what led me to Lilly Nutter. 

What started as a simple request by her grandson serving overseas to mail letters to soldiers that never get any mail has turned into over a thousand care packages sent!  The amazing thing is that Lilly is ninety-eight and doesn’t just mail one package.  She continues to send packages and communicate with these soldiers even after they come home.  She averages about ten new names to send packages to a month and is always looking for more.  Although this passion of hers originally came out of her own pocket; several organizations and individuals have found out what she is doing and have offered help either by donating postage and/or supplies.  One such organization is the Veterans of the USS Salamonie who decided to adopt Lilly and, to date, have donated over ten thousand dollars from thirty states and one from Canada to help her do this for the troops!  She couldn’t do what she does without the help of these Veterans and people like them.  She meticulously keeps track of every person she mails things to and every person and organization that help her.  She has been honored many times by Veterans organizations, and even by Senator Lugar, for her efforts.  And a testament to how much this means to the troops is in the stacks of letters and gifts she has received from them with heartfelt appreciation and gratitude for the simple fact that someone cares enough to send them something from home letting them know that they haven’t been forgotten.  Some of them have even come to visit her when they finally made it home to thank her in person.  But Lilly’s kindness, compassion, and generosity don’t just stop with our troops.

She is a member of the Warren Chamber of Commerce and the Real Elegant Dames, as well as a volunteer at the Pulse Opera House in Warren.  She helps care for some of the patients at the Warren Heritage Pointe where she lives and makes a point of visiting as many people she can at the facility, especially those that receive few to no visitors.  She receives beautiful bouquets of flowers from a daughter of one of the ladies she helps who owns a flower farm.  She, in turn, divides the flowers up and shares them with others.  She organizes monthly birthday parties for her friends and has been known to host tea parties for people and families that are new to the town of Warren.  Did I mention she’s 98!  These are just a few examples of what make Lilly so special.  She is genuinely a beautiful person inside and out and very humbled by all the fuss people make over what she feels is just the natural thing to do.  I am honored to be able to share how special she is with others.  She truly is an angel watching over our troops and an inspiration for us all to reach out and touch people’s lives in a positive way for nothing other than the joy it brings.   She truly is an Everyday Star!