Walking ‘The Walk’
Lorelei Morrissette of the Brattleboro Housing Partnerships leads a group of residents from Samuel Elliot Apartments, and their allies, on an “awareness walk” on Aug. 27, 2019 on Elliot Street in Brattleboro.

Walking ‘The Walk’

Lorelei Morrissette organized an awareness-building community walk along Elliot and Main streets and assured that the spirit of the walk reflected peaceful determination

BRATTLEBORO — During the summer of 2019, public disorder on Elliot Street began to threaten elderly residents of the Samuel Elliot Apartments seeking to make their way to Main Street.

The disorder culminated late in the summer when one of the residents, walking slowly with the aid of a walker, was confronted by a group of individuals who blocked the sidewalk, assaulted her, and destroyed her cell phone.

Lorelei Morrissette, who has been serving as resident wellness and services manager for the Brattleboro Housing Partnerships, had never before had to address a situation like this.

Yet the need was clear, and Lorelei rose brilliantly to the occasion, organizing an awareness-building community walk along Elliot and Main streets and assuring that the spirit of the walk reflected peaceful determination.

* * *

The Walk,” as it came to be known, was well-publicized and drew a large group of supporters. As quoted in The Commons [“Tipping point: Residents of the Elliot high-rise in Brattleboro host a community walk to call attention to pedestrian safety - and to reclaim their street,” News, Sept. 9, 2019], Lorelei said that she had hoped it would help residents “build some empowerment” and “rebuild their sense of safety,” adding, “We were so happy to do this and so happy to have so many people from the community come and join us.”

And it worked! Since The Walk, there have been no further incidents or disturbances, and our elderly residents have been able to resume their movements safely and without worry.

Asked afterward about whether she had organized anything like this event before, Lorelei said that this was her first such experience - rendering her yet more of a hero in our eyes.

Her nomination for one of Compassionate Brattleboro's 2020 Unsung Hero Awards captured it well: “In every way, Lorelei's leadership and her influence over the tone of the walk was compassionate and rooted in caring for the people she represents.”

* * *

The Walk was, in fact, just one manifestation of the love Lorelei feels for the residents, love that is fully reciprocated.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, she has been particularly diligent about checking in with them, and, in the process, delighting them with conversation about everything from world and local events to programs they've been watching on television.

Thank you, Lorelei, for so constructively helping members of our community feel safe and cared for!

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