Cleanup begins after tree nearly destroys Leeza's Care Connection

Cleanup begins after tree nearly destroys Leeza's Care Connection

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - It could be months before a facility that helps caregivers of people with chronic illnesses will be able to re-open.

Leeza's Care Connection was nearly destroyed by a downed tree in Sunday's night's storms. A tree removal company began cleanup efforts early Tuesday morning.

Leeza's Care Connection in Irmo opened just eight months ago. Founded by South Carolina native Leeza Gibbons, it's a community center for caregivers, says managing director Marti Colucci is the managing director.

"The day-to-day questions, we have support groups in education and wellness," Colucci said. "We run programming all throughout the week."

But not even one year after opening, lightning strikes.

"We know that there's significant damage on the inside. We had water coming through the light fixtures. Our hope is that we'll actually get the tree off the house today. That is the goal for the day," Colucci said.

Cheering them on along the way is the Whitehall Homeowners Association on Tuesday they provided lunch to everyone helping with the cleanup, including member LuAnne Kea.

"We are going to support them and do whatever we can because I have no doubt that they are going to come back from this even stronger," Kea said.

But she was not always this big a fan of Leeza's Car Connection coming to the neighborhood.

"I was rather hesitant, I don't want to say resistant, but concerned, "Key said. "At this point, I'm so grateful that they're here. I've seen them do such amazing work."

That work is now put on hold.

"One day at a time, that's what we tell our caregivers. One breath at a time, one day at a time, we'll get there."

Both St. Mary's and Seven Oaks Park have reached out to offer their facilities temporarily so that Leeza's Care Connection can continue services. For the latest, visit

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