LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Most of us can think of at least one person we may have helped a little or a lot in our lifetime. But what if the list was so long, you might not remember them all anymore?
That’s our next Remarkable Woman: Karen Eddington. She’s changed many lives by offering her home as a rest stop when they had lost their way on life’s journey.
“For most of our youth, there was someone we barely knew living at our house, free of charge,” shared Tyler Eddington, Karen’s eldest son. “Whether it was a mother and her children escaping abuse, a troubled kid who had been kicked out or the family of five whose home was burned by an arsonist, our mother, Karen Eddington, always seemed to find those in need of refuge.”
For many women, being a wife, a busy mom to four growing boys, having a career and volunteering on the side would be a very full life. But Karen makes room in her heart and home to keep giving.
“We all have times of struggle in our lives, and sometimes, you just need somebody there to help you through those periods of struggle,” she said.
Karen has been “that somebody” for a long list of friends, neighbors and even strangers, making them feel part of the Eddington family when they needed family most.
“We just wanted them to have a soft place to land and get on their feet and do what they needed to do to be successful,” she shared.
One of those people was a former employee of Karen’s who was on the brink of being homeless.
“…And her husband had gone to jail, and she was raising two young kids and just was at her wits end, had no resources,” she said.
They stayed for months, no rent, no grocery bills and no judgement. And likewise for all of those who would come and go in the years to follow, they pitched in on household chores and focused on getting their lives back on track to be out on their own again.
The Eddington’s adapted to each new situation, not knowing when or who might move in next.
“Sometimes, it was just a mom decision, you know, and they all went along with it,” Karen said. “My boys and husband were very patient and also charitable to, you know, put up with the comings and goings and modifying their lives and helping out in their ways.”
Tyler recounted, “It was a blur, but I don’t remember feeling burdened at all by having other people in our home. You know, just, there’s, like, more siblings, except they were more like on the friend scale than sibling.”
All the while, Karen and her husband, Gary, were busy raising their boys, involved in their church, the PTA, Boy Scouts and family vacations.
Karen has stumbled over some hurdles of her own, losing her gift basket business when the economy tanked in 2008 and recovering from gambling addiction.
“In overcoming that, I do think I’ve become a better person because I’m more empathetic, sympathetic,” she said. “I understand better that people need second chances, and they need a leg up.”
When the next-door neighbors’ home was damaged in a fire, Karen invited them in for a drink of water and told them to stay until their house was rebuilt. It was a spontaneous offer to help that made a lasting difference in someone’s life.
“You know, we were glad to be able to do that for them,” said Karen, “and we will stay in touch with all the people who have come and gone out of our home, and they all are much more successful and stable than they were in that period of time.”
Now watching their sons grow up to have families of their own, Karen knows they see the good in making room in your life for others.
“I’m super grateful that she set that example for us because it has certainly influenced our choices to give back and to look outside of ourselves,” said Tyler.
And that’s why Karen Eddington is an 8 News Now Remarkable Woman.