By Nancy Price
Being a military wife and a working mother of four is enough to keep anyone busy. Yet Jessica Limeberry, a cancer survivor, somehow finds time to give back to her community, from raising money for one nonprofit to starting support groups for another.
Limeberry began volunteering with St. Elizabeth Coleman Pregnancy and Adoption Services when she was pregnant with her first child. She was looking for a way to give back and found that helping other mothers came naturally to her, whether starting a mother’s support group or creating donation packs for those in need.
“I have loved getting to know the workers, volunteers and women who are a part of St. Elizabeth Coleman and love that I have grown in my motherhood journey right alongside these women,” Limeberry said. “We learn a lot from each other and being able to offer support to women who have very little, if any, is so rewarding. I have a village of people helping me, so it is a joy to give some back to others.”
Supporting and encouraging other women and girls is something that Limeberry has always felt a calling for during her life. She learned of Girls, Inc. of Greater Indianapolis while in college. Girls Inc. partners with schools and community organizations to offer educational programs to girls and helps to prepare them for their futures. After buying Sophia’s Bridal, Tux and Prom, she was looking for a way that the shop could help a local nonprofit.
“At Sophia’s our mission is to use the experience of selling dresses to build relationships, empower women, celebrate love and help people feel confident and beautiful,” she said. “Every year we do a prom fashion show to raise money and show off the new season’s dresses and we wanted to partner with someone whose missions aligned. We immediately though of Girls, Inc. and all they do for young women in our community. So, every year, through our fashion show and other events, we help raise money to support them. “
Limeberry never imagined that she would need to receive support and encouragement herself when she was diagnosed with cancer.
In May 2017 she began to wheeze when breathing and had shortness of breath. By that fall, she was diagnosed with adult onset asthma. After medication and treatments failed to help and she felt worse, she went to her doctor, who discovered a cancerous tumor in her lung. Thankfully, surgery removed the mass and Limeberry was able to avoid chemotherapy.
“Truthfully, the whole process was so overwhelming (in a good way),” she said. “We were covered in prayer and support. We had people watch the kids, bring meals, visit me at the hospital, send gift cards and good wishes. I’ve never felt community in that way. It was so humbling. “
Thankfulness is a way of life for the family of six. Limeberry’s husband, Matthew, is a major in the U.S. Army and in the National Guard as a military intelligence officer. He has been deployed to the middle east twice.
“I think we appreciate everything so much; in his deployments and travels he has seen a lot of hard places, which has really helped form a level of thankfulness and appreciation for all that we have here,” she said. “And for the families of those who service, in the military, police, fire department, etc.”
Jessica and her husband are lifelong Center Grove residents. Their kids, Bryson, 10; Cohen, seven; Grady, six and Adler, four, attend Center Grove Schools.
Q & A:
What do you consider your greatest virtue?
I was so lucky to grow up in a house that valued service and love. I think I have been engrained with the idea that you can never give too much. I love serving people and the community, through giving of money or time/talents.
What upsets you?
Being a Mom of four, anything that is taking advantage and hurting children upsets me.
It is so hard to see kids who are sad and neglected and treated badly, knowing that they usually have no power in the situation.
What do you like best about Center Grove?
My husband and I grew up here and I can’t say how many times I’ve used the phrase, “It’s a small world!” I just love knowing people around me, having true community and fellowship with my neighbors, my church and all the people here on the Southside. We have the small town feel within and close to a city and all the benefits that come from that!
If you had to live anywhere else in the Metro Indianapolis area, where would it be?
We obviously have a heart for Southport with our business being there, so I would say we would stay Southside but over in Southport.
If you could begin life over, what would you change?
Nothing. The good, the bad, and the in between have all lead me to here. And I can’t think of anything different! I am so thankful for the lessons I’ve learned that have become really important parts of my story!
If money were no issue, how would you spend it?
Traveling. I LOVE to travel. I don’t care where it is, I want to see it all!
What makes you happiest?
My family, being with my husband, kids and extended family. We are a tight-knit group and I am so grateful for all the cousins in my life and in my kids’ lives, that we get to experience life with!
Pick three adjectives that best describe you.
Dedicated, steady and kind.
What is your favorite vacation spot?
Anywhere with a beach, although we recently went to Italy and I loved that too!
What do you do with idle time?
I don’t have idle time! Ha! Between three businesses, four kids, a husband in the military and all the sports and extracurricular activities, there is very little downtime. When we have a free day, we focus on experiences like going bowling, putt-putt, swimming, walking on the canal downtown – anything that keeps us active and together as a family!
What would you change about our culture if you could?
I would add more acceptance. I wish there was a way to spread more empathy and love on a massive scale. I truly believe that each of us can make a difference. And if we can focus on caring for those around us, it will spread. But if I could snap my fingers and change something, I’d do that!
Which living person in Center Grove do you most admire?
My parents. They’re the most generous, hard-working and selfless people I know. They’ve done it all and would do anything, for anyone, at the drop of a hat. They taught me how to work hard, how to love others and how to be thankful!
What quality do you admire most in another person?
Simple kindness. I think big gestures are amazing but small acts of kindness really wow me. Easy things like smiling at strangers or helping someone with the door or encouraging someone who is struggling. I recently had a cancerous tumor in my left lung and the amazing outpouring of support from my friends, family and truly just strangers who heard our story was overwhelming. People prayed, they brought meals, they send gift cards, they sent letters of encouragement. I have never been more grateful for the life we have here!
What is your greatest extravagance?
Getting a monthly massage is probably my current little treat. On a big scale I would say traveling is something we splurge on!
What is your greatest fear?
As most Moms do, I fear that I am not providing enough, or providing too much to my kids! I want them to grow up to be honest, kind, hard-working and thankful but I also want to give them every opportunity and experience I can! It is a hard balance but I think if we are doing everything with the right intention, even when we mess up, in the end it will work out for good.
Is there a special talent you really wish you had?
I wish I was more outgoing! I am slightly introverted, especially in new situations or around people I don’t know. I am a horrible networker and wish I could just walk into a room full of confidence and pizzazz!
What do you most value in your friends?
I value listening. Friends who are there just to listen have changed my life. They don’t judge or jump to conclusions. They allow you to be frustrated and empathize with you and are then able to turn it around and help you to problem-solve.
What tenet do you live by?
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
Most people are surprised when they find out I don’t drink coffee or caffeine or basically anything other than water. I haven’t since high school and I just lost all taste for anything flavored!