Helping America's Most Vulnerable

Meet Willie

Spruce Manor is a 15-unit facility that houses persons over 18 years of age with a disability.  We currently have a young man living here whose name is Willie.  Willie became blind at the age of 15 and became deaf as a freshman in college – he is now 39 years old.  Prior to moving to Spruce Manor, Willie lived with his parents in Chicago.  In 2010 he started learning sign language and because of the complexity of American Sign Language, his family had difficulty picking up the signs.  This made for a huge communication barrier between Willie and his family.  He became frustrated and felt isolated because this hindered his dream of living independently again.  Near the end of 2013, Willie made the decision to move into Spruce Manor, where he would be living independently for the first time since college.  Prior to his move-in, he had a critical surgery to remove bone fragments and a tumor that were located at the base of his skull.  He had been experiencing numbness in his hands because of complications from the tumor in his brain.  The feeling in his hands is now coming back, much to Willie’s delight!  Recently we were able to purchase a machine from the Helen Keller Foundation to help him with communication. Now, Willie is able to navigate the halls on his own, check his own mail, clean his apartment, do his laundry and cook.  Willie is an ordained minister and has a very strong faith in God.  His speech in excellent and his outlook is very positive and cheerful.  Staff at Spruce Manor say that he never leaves their office without having made them laugh!  He has enriched their lives and is an inspiration to all who meet him!