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Pratt community answers lockdown plea for help from Hillside Terrace Apartments

Fran Brownell
Pratt Tribune
Hillside Terrace resident Luana Renville, left, accepts donations on behalf of all Hillside Terrace residents Monday evening from Pratt American Legion Post 86 members Amy Fulton and Matt Fulton. The Hillside Terrace high-rise apartment complex has been under quarantine for weeks because of the coronavirus and many elderly residents there don’t have outside support to provide for their needs.

When Hillside Terrace resident Luana Renville issued a Facebook call on Wednesday, November 11 for help, friends and neighbors from the Pratt community rallied to answer her plea for groceries and health care items needed by residents there. Continued coronavirus quarantine rules have caused a situation there that may be compounded in the near future as the number of positive, active cases rise in the area.

“I am asking for help,” Renville posted last week. “As you might know, Hillside Terrace has been hit really hard with this COVID pandemic.”

Renville, 75, worked as receptionist for Dr. Giles Freeman at Pratt Rural Health Clinic for many years until it closed. Now she is 1 of 16, out of 53, Hillside Terrace residents who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past few months.

“I was one of the fortunate ones to get it early and am almost fully recovered,” said Renville. “We’ve had 16 confirmed cases out of 53 who live in these apartments, and one death. We’re on lockdown … only essential people can come in. Everyone is wearing masks when not in their apartment.”

While Hillside residents who have not tested positive are able to go out into the community, only designated essential workers are allowed to enter the three-story complex at 414 Watson Street in Pratt.

Renville said she issued the plea for help on behalf of the residents who feel the isolation of lockdown and who don’t have family support to provide for some of their needs.

“There are people here who have no family, no friends,” Renville said. “I stayed up all night one night praying about this. God put this in my heart to help other people. It’s in my genes.”

Renville’s said Hillside Terrace residents need items like powdered sugar-free drinks and disposable underwear. She asked that items being donated be left on benches in front of the entrance, saying she would get them and see that they were given to the people in need. Renville said that fresh fruit—oranges, bananas, strawberries—and paper goods, including for kitchen and bath, would also be greatly appreciated.

Community response has been encouraging, with 15 different people already stopping by to drop off requested groceries and other items in the last few days.

On Thursday, November 12, Toni Perez of Pratt posted a follow-up comment on Facebook.

“We are a community, we help each other,” Perez said. “There is no such thing as asking for too much when COVID is involved.”

Perez said she had seen residents taking the gifts.

“It made my heart so happy,” Perez posted. “I am taking stuff today. Pratt, keep being the loving community I know!“

Renville, who has lived at Hillside Terrace since 2015, said she is also grateful that pets are allowed in the complex, because Bonita, her six-year-old chihuahua, is her best therapy.

For many residents, their pets are their best company. They do have, however, a very good complex manager, Gina Qualls, whom Renville said is doing her best to help all at the complex during this difficult time.

“She’s just so wonderful and caring for everyone here,” Renville said.

Renville asked, that in addition to bringing needed items to the apartment complex, that people please pray.

“We thank you and God bless you all. We will survive,” she said.