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 Carol Jensen, a drafter at Boeing Commercial Airplane Group in Everett, stands in front of the Crossroads Apartments, a transitional housing shelter run by Housing Hope.


 Keeping hope alive

From her own life experience,

she learned the meaning of hope

Boeing News

By Mark Ziegler

The "wolves" were at Carol Jensen's door once. A good neighbor came to her rescue. Now, she helps those hearing the not-so-distant howls.

Jensen remembers well the man in a truck stalking her house nearly three decades ago in Idaho. He was from the gas company, and he was going to shut off the gas if she didn't pay her bill by 4 p.m. It was not long after her first husband had been permanently incapacitated because of a near-fatal head injury. There were no groceries in the cupboards to feed her four daughters nor money to pay the rent.

"I didn't have a dime," said Jensen, a drafter at Boeing Commercial Airplane Group in Everett.

"It was the off-season at the private club where I worked. I went to my boss and asked him to help me find a member who could take care of my daughters during the winter until I could get back on my feet.

"Later in the day, my boss drove up to my house. He paid the guy in the gas truck, paid my rent, bought me some groceries, and told me a local doctor would give my girls free medical care. Turns out my boss had contacted the board of directors of the club, and they had decided to take me on as their project."

Jensen did get back on her feet, landing a job at Boeing in 1967 after her marriage ended some years before. She later married again, merging her family with her second husband's four children. A year later, the couple welcomed another son. Eventually, eight of the nine children were married, and Jensen enjoys the frequent visits of 17 grandchildren.

From her experiences, Jensen came to believe that everyone has an obligation to do their "fair share." She has belonged to the Boeing Employees Good Neighbor Fund since joining the company, acting as a canvasser for 10 of those years.

In 1989, she started volunteering for Housing Hope, a Boeing Employees Good Neighbor Fund-supported agency offering emergency shelter and transitional housing for homeless families in Snohomish County. She now serves on the board of directors.

"The people going into our homes aren't bums and they're not lazy," said Jensen. "They want to work. But with housing costs rising so sharply, and with some companies not providing benefits, you miss a day's or week's work and you can be out on the street."

Jensen described as "fantastic" the grants made to Housing Hope by BEGNF in recent years. One grant of $30,090 helped pay for a new roof on a homeless shelter in Everett and the purchase of additional shelters in Snohomish County.

"It makes you feel good to see that the money you donate to the fund is really being used to help those who need it," Jensen said.

"After all, you never know when you may need help yourself."