As we arrive at the Seilers' apartment in Downtown Barre, we're greeted with fresh bagels to match the whafting smells of the bakery next door. Their apartment is centrally located on Main St. in the downtown area, very close to all of their daily needs.
"Where can you get an appropriate apartment for what we're paying? We smell bagels in the morning, library's across the street, if we want religious services we can go to Montpelier...We're rich. We don't have a lot of pictures on the walls, but its just such a wonderful place to live."
After Lawrence and Arlene were displaced by a flood in their home, they took refuge at the Good Samaritan Haven in Barre. The organization provides shelter and supportive services for individuals who are displaced or who have become homeless.
Both of the Seilers are deeply passionate about advocating for individuals with special needs. Lawrence lives with Cerebral Palsy and hearing impairments, but has employed incredible perseverance to overcome obstacles in his path. Lawrence and Arlene co-host a public access television show called Abled and On-Air where they discuss issues that impact people with special needs.
"We aim to educate people on abilities, not disabilities," Lawrence says. For years now, he has worked as a journalist to highlight the particular opportunities for people with special needs to make unique contributions to their communities. The couple also hosted a series of radio and television programs during their time living in Bronx, NY.
That same perseverance served them in getting back on their feet after their displacement.
"Every day, we were off to some kind of appointment, putting in applications. Good Samaritan helped us along the way, gave us a push." That push has landed the Seilers in a position where they no longer need assistance, but can reflect on how necessary the assistance that they were able to receive was in getting them back on their feet and bringing them home once again.