Mission Moment — Meet Carmen

Carmen was recently honored by the LUM Board of Directors and given a small token to show their appreciation for her volunteer work with LUM.


{Pictured above L to R: Joe Micon, LUM executive director; Deb Parent, member, LUM Board of Directors; Carmen; and Cindy Haley, LUM After School program director.}

Carmen’s life changed during the final months of her high school career. She was scheduled to finish high school early and was directly enlisted into the U.S. Marine Corps. On the morning of February 4, 2006 though, her life’s path took a sharp turn.

On the way home from getting her hair done for her high school’s Valentine’s Day Dance, she was in a serious car accident. When Carmen awoke from a coma a month later on March 6, 2006, her doctors gave her little hope of walking again. She went through intensive physical therapy to learn how to talk, eat and eventually walk again. Living with her parents and her brother who also needed physical therapy due to a disability, Carmen was able to make significant progress while assisting her parents and caring for her brother.

After some time, Carmen was not feeling productive enough and found a job in housekeeping at a local hospital and moved into an apartment of her own. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to keep her job after only three months; and without this income, Carmen soon lost her apartment and for a short time was sleeping in her storage unit.

She then found LUM.

Carmen became a guest in the LUM Emergency Shelter and was meeting regularly with the LUM staff to find a pathway to more permanent housing and employment. She was able to get disability benefits and found a part-time job. Carmen then found housing in Fowler House. Carmen was also seeking a companion. After two abusive relationships, Carmen met Joseph. Carmen and Joseph hit it off immediately and were married a year later.

carmenCarmen was appreciative of the emergency housing and counsel she received from LUM. So much so that once she found permanent housing again she was determined to give something back to LUM as a volunteer.

After a brief discussion with LUM staff, Carmen offered to clean the LUM Youth Center three days a week as a volunteer — and has been doing so for since last summer. Recently, she secured a part-time job that provides her with just enough hours (13.75 per week) without compromising her right to critical disability income.

When asked  what she would like people to learn from her story, she requested this line to be included:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13

This is the first scripture her father read to her when she woke up from her coma on March 6, 2006.

Through her faith, hard work and determination, Carmen has turned her life around. She is happily married and works part-time at a local coffee shop — and still continues to clean the LUM Youth Center. Carmen often shares,

“I am God’s dairy maid. I’m bringing you the cheese!”

Carmen is a remarkable person and a wonderful example of how important the LUM Emergency Shelter is for individuals in our community – and how it is equally important to be persistent, positive, hardworking and faithful.

Carmen praises God daily for the gifts He has given her to share.

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