Immigrant from the West Indies is giving back in Jeannette
Born in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies, Lola Abraham Barton immigrated to the United States when she was 19 years old.
Named by Christopher Columbus, Trinidad is the largest and southernmost island in the Caribbean; Barton graduated from Arima High School located in the north central part of the Island.
She and her parents first came to New York, which is where her sister was living in 1976, and then they moved to Jeannette. Barton's father knew the Monsour family, whom he met in Trinidad.
The Monsours offered him a job in Jeannette, which made it possible for the family to immigrate to the United States. Many Jeannette residents remember Barton's father as the security guard in the booth at the Monsour Medical Center parking lot.
Upon moving to the United States, Barton also was able to land a job at Monsour Medical Center where she worked in the housekeeping department. She was at work when she met her husband, Bob Barton, also an employee at the medical center.
The couple married and settled in the City of Jeannette, where they raised their two children, Kerri and Natasha.
Kerri Barton, 34, is a graduate of Jeannette High School and Westmoreland County Community College. She works as a phlebotomist at a doctor's office in Penn Hills.
Natasha Barton Streets, 36, is also a Jeannette graduate. She her husband, Jim, and their son, Jakob, live in Fort Allen. Streets is employed as a call center supervisor for Leeds in New Kensington.
After her children were raised, Barton and her husband made a decision to take in foster children.
Barton, a quiet and reserved individual, said, “We wanted to try and help the kids have a better life.”
The couple has been fostering children since 1997 and, in 2010, they began the process of permanently adopting two of the girls that they fostered. Juccora and Janelle Barton, now 15 years old, were adopted in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
Both girls attend school in Jeannette and have been with the Bartons since they were 8 years old. The family continues to foster other children.
After working for many years at Monsour, Barton was employed for 16 years at Baldock Health Center in North Huntingdon. Now she is a stay-at-home mom. She volunteers a lot with the Salvation Army, where she also goes to church and belongs to the women's ministry.
In her leisure time, Barton said, “I like to work in the yard and to go for walks.”
Her daughter Janelle said, “Mom likes to read her Bible and she loves the beach.”
Barton also stresses, “I loves kids.”
In addition to frequently being in the company of her daughters, she is often seen with her grandson, Jakob.
To learn more about fostering and adoption or volunteering in the community, get to know neighbor Lola Barton.
Editor's note: Meet Your Neighbors is a recurring feature in The Jeannette Spirit. If you know of a neighbor with an interesting life story to tell, someone who deserves some recognition for volunteer work, a resident with a special talent or an avid collector who would like to be featured, call the Spirit at 724-838-5154 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Margie Stanislaw is a contributing writer.