New wallpaper, fresh paint and new cabinets may help as Tom and Marlene Latham of Deer Park get through a tragedy.
The couple found part of the interior of their home at 4117 Schenck Drive remodeled Sunday night when they returned from Florida.
The remodeling was done by children, grandchildren, neighbors and friends.
"We came up with this idea to remodel the house while they were in Florida, hoping it would ease the pain of losing my sister last Christmas holiday," said Tim Latham, a son.
He said the family had gathered at their parents' home during the holiday.
Marlene and Thomas Latham of Deer Park found their home remodeled after they returned from Florida on Sunday. The work was done by their children, grandchildren, neighbors and friends.
The Cincinnati Enquirer/MELISSA HEATHERLY
The next day, Nancy Mercer, the Latham's daughter, died unexpectedly of a massive heart attack.
"It was such a shock because it happened so suddenly. She had not been sick or anything," Tim Latham said.
He said they spent about two months, working evenings and weekends, remodeling the house.
He said about 30 or so people helped in the project.
"It took us by surprise," said Marlene Latham.
She said they were delayed arriving Sunday because of car trouble.
"He was supposed to design a remodeling plan, not do the work," Tom Latham said of his son. "This certainly will go a long way toward helping us through the tragedy."
Philanthropist Claire Phillips was recently given the Edith Peters-Jones Award for her contributions to community services and gifts to organizations.
The award was presented by University of Cincinnati President Nancy Zimpher. It is given by the Women's Center at UC Clermont.
Phillips continued the support of area organizations and educational institutions after her husband, Charles, died in 1999.
She was awarded the Beacon of Light Humanitarian Award from Lighthouse Youth Services and received the College of Mount St. Joseph's Trustee Award in 2002.
She supports the YWCA's Mamie Earl Sells Scholarship, contributes to the World Piano Competition and helped to organize Music Hall's 125th Anniversary Celebration.
Phillips has been a licensed pilot for 40 years and has endowed an aviation scholarship at UC Clermont.
Friends and co-workers will gather for a retirement party for Karla Irvine from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 12 in the Community Chest Building, 2400 Reading Road. Irvine is retiring as executive director of Housing Opportunities Made Equal after 27 years.
Citizens fire academy
GREEN TOWNSHIP - A citizens fire academy is being organized here.
Details and dates have not been announced, but the training program is designed to give residents a realistic look at firefighting.
"We will teach students about fire suppression, ladders, ventilation, auto extrication, first aid and many other topics," Green Township Fire Lt. Terry Tate said. "We will make sure it's as safe as firefighting can be."
Green Township residents will have priority for the program. Applicants will need to pass a background check and submit a physician's release, liability waiver and proof of insurance.
After attending the program, participants will be able to schedule ride-along time to observe on-duty crews.
"As far as I am concerned, the more our citizens know about what we do the better," Fire Chief Robert Weitzel said. "I'm sure this will be an eye-opening experience for them."
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