Faces of Kansas City: Friendship Inn offers home - KCTV5

Faces of Kansas City: Friendship Inn offers home while loved one's in hospital

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KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -

Nestled along State Line Road and just a stone's throw away from the University of Kansas Hospital sits a very special house and inside is a woman who may just be one of the greatest ambassadors for Kansas City.

Peggy Walls loves her 100-year-old house in the Hanover Heights neighborhood. She lives here and works there.

"I'm responsible for the cleaning, laundry, talking to the guests and making sure things are going good for them, so I could have one guest or up to nine," she said.

But this is no bed and breakfast. It's the Friendship Inn, a place for out-of-towners to stay while a loved one is being treated at the University of Kansas Hospital.

"When you're sick you don't feel very good, so I try to make the person who may be sick or the family member who is so afraid - it could be a death going to happen or it's a long-term illness - so just making them feel like you're going to make it, you're going to make it," Walls said.

While Walls is the program manager at Friendship Inn, to those who stay there, she's so much more.

"If it wasn't for Miss Peggy and the Friendship Inn taking me in and giving me moral support and a bed to sleep in, I probably wouldn't have made it, I probably would have had a nervous breakdown," said Trish McGaha of Jacksonville, FL.

While touring with a rock band, McGaha's boyfriend was shot in the stomach during an argument and has undergone eight surgeries.

She says she knew no one in Kansas City until someone at the hospital referred her to Walls and the Friendship Inn.

"I can't thank them enough," McGaha said.

It's all in a day's work for Walls who, in addition to helping people cope with painful problems, still has to do the laundry. But she's passing the torch, so to speak, as she's training the next manager of the inn.

"Big shoes that Peggy has for me to fill. She's really laid a good foundation here," said manager-in-training Kathy Bradley.

After seven-plus years at the Friendship Inn, Walls says it's time to retire.

"I'm looking forward to just doing volunteer work and just doing fun things," she said. "I will (miss this place) but I'm hoping that Kathy will allow me to come volunteer here."

So Walls is leaving, but she's not really leaving.

People from all over the country have stayed at the Friendship Inn. It is a nonprofit organization. They ask that guests pay $30 a night but, if that's too much, Walls says they never turn anyone away.

Go to friendshipinnkc.org if you'd like to learn more about the Friendship Inn.

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