Omaha woman honored as unsung hero

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Ella Willis has worked to beautify her neighborhood and community for years. She tells 6 News that her early years in Mississippi kept her motivated.

“I had 14 children. We didn’t have any grass because we kept everything down. When I left home and got married the beauty was to have a beautiful garden and flowers and all of that was my main thing to have flowers and beauty, ”Willis said.

Ella brought artists to paint flowers in her neighborhood and helped plant a flower garden along North 24th Street. For many years, Ella has encouraged others to do a simple task just to clean up your home and neighborhood.

“If [there’s] a free plot of land next door, clean up the free plot of land. Sweep the sidewalk in front of your house, maybe in front of the vacant lot, as this will help beautify your area and the next area. “

Ella is one of three Omaha women recognized as Unsung Heroes by Rep. Don Bacon. They will read their names on the floor of the house and in the congressional report.

Terri Sanders, editor of the Omaha Star, was a member of the committee that selected the women. Sanders says she is proud that three women were selected for the honor.

“The ‘girlfriends club’ is strong. One of the things that I think women are more recognized now is that we have a vice president and that kind of pushes the female envelope a little higher. Since it’s up there, we have to open it up and let these people out, ”said Sanders.

Ella says that getting people in her community to be proud of their neighborhood is sometimes difficult, and she has always delivered a strong message to those who don’t listen.

“We live out here and we have to take care of our area. We shouldn’t have to go around asking other people to come in and take care of the area. We should be able to keep our own space, ”Willis said.

The other two women Bacon makes unsung heroes are Teela Mickles and Betty McDonald.

Teela Mickles is the founder of Compassion in Action, a nonprofit that helps families affected by incarceration. and Betty McDonald is a co-founder of the Native Omaha Days.

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