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25-year resident uplifting complex

By Justin Boron

Lorene Manus is more than an ideal tenant at Riverwood Townhomes. Sometimes, she is who makes it thrive, employees of the Jonesboro apartment complex say.

The 76-year-old has lived there for 25 years and has sought to uplift anyone down on their luck or struggling to make ends meet.

In her time there, she has prepared Thanksgiving baskets for elderly residents, dinner for the needy, picnics for 300 children each summer, and supplies lunch for the maintenance staff whenever she can.

But she is quick to point the praise away from herself.

Manus said the apartment complex helps her out with any money she needs.

The complex provides $500 each year for a Christmas party that she plans. If that isn't enough, Manus said Sharon Daniels, 57, the complex's property manager, pulls some extra cash for her pocket.

She will be honored by the apartment complex and Pastor Diane M. Kier at God's Holy Ghost Chapel of Love for her charity work.

"She has gone above and beyond to make these apartments an enjoyable place," Kier said.

How she came to be so charitable partly stems from one of her daughter's struggle through a premature birth.

The ordeal led her to get involved with the March of Dimes in Atlanta.

Another one of Manus' four children, Judy Holsclaw, 50, boasts of her mother's involvement in the church charity back to the 1960s when she ran a parish house for children at the United Methodist Church.

Holsclaw also tells of her mother dragging the children from house to house to collect donations for the March of Dimes during the day while her husband Joel Manus drove trucks in Atlanta. He died of cancer in 1984.

"He was a good man," she said. "I can't find nothing like him."

Having broken each hip in her body, Manus also has a reputation for being tough.

"That's the only person I know that's broke a hip and is still walking," said Teresa Lopez, 35, a Riverwood employee.

Her father died when she was 12, in an accident at the copper mill where he worked.

Manus also delivered her last child when she was 40 years old.