I am proud to call West Side my home

I applaud People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH), Mayor Byron Brown, Congressman Brian Higgins and all others involved for their efforts and successes on the West Side of Buffalo. They are an example of what can be done when people work together collaboratively and unselfishly. I had an opportunity to volunteer with PUSH in its early days when members went door-to-door introducing themselves and their mission for the West Side.

I live on the West Side and work in suburbia with people from Williamsville, Clarence, Amherst, etc. I have often been asked why I am still living in what I affectionately call “the hood.” We moved here in 1988 from New Jersey suburbia to accept a ministry in Buffalo and have never regretted it. Our children did well in school – Academy of Performing Arts for our son who is gifted musically, and School 84 for our other son who is physically and mentally challenged.

We have wonderful neighbors. We have also had drug-dealing neighbors and at one point I could watch drug deals from my window and cars coming and going at all hours. I have never feared, and even the drug dealing, probable gang members were always polite. One such neighbor, who has since moved, referred to me as “Mama.” When someone was consistently knocking the bricks down from around our tree, I asked him to please tell whoever was doing it to stop and it never happened again.

We have access to theaters, waterfront, sports and wonderful restaurants without having to drive more than 15 minutes. I love the West Side and look forward to the developments expected in 2013.

Eileen Wheeler