‘Angel in Hale County’: Volunteers help couple find new home

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 12, 2004

God had his hand in finding a new home for a couple in Newbern, a volunteer for the Friends of Hale County Foundation declared Thursday.

No one on hand to view the results of that handiwork denied that it was true.

On Dec. 23, 2003, a fire took the home of Hershey, 82, and Coria Lee Bryant, 77. On Thursday they were walking through a donated mobile home on their property in Newbern.

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“We have an angel in Hale County basically called Mary Green,” said Pam Chism, a volunteer with the Friends of Hale County Foundation. “She goes around and finds the people in need, who need stuff. She told us about the Bryants’ home burning down.”

There were other angels also.

“Emily, one of the Rural Studio girls, had started coming to our church (Mt. Horeb Baptist Church),” Coria Lee Bryant said. Pam Door, an outreach fellow, also visited and learned of the family’s plight.

Chism was searching on the Internet for a mobile home that would need moving. She called the first three hits she found. A woman called back and said her parents had an old two-bedroom mobile home in good shape. It was located on Lock 8 in Akron.

It just so happens that the foundation works every other month in Akron volunteering to fix up homes. Chism called Wright’s Mobile Homes, and Neal Parker moved the trailer to the Wrights’ property Tuesday.

In addition, Pam Door is working on getting funding so the Bryants will be able to add on a back porch for a washer and dryer, Chism said.

The couple who had previously lived in the mobile home, Wilmer and Brenda Lee, called to see how the Bryants were doing. “They were so happy that someone was getting it who could use it,” Chism said.

“It was well taken care of,” Mrs. Bryant said.

A new propane heater recently installed in the trailer will keep the couple warm, Chism said; a window unit air conditioner will keep them cool. Hershey Bryant was busy spraying for wasps Thursday.

The Bryants live on Hale County Road 10 just off Highway 61 in Newbern. Both were born in Hale County. She is a diabetic with an eye infection. “I have to thank God for another day,” Coria Lee Bryant said, as she struggled to get on and off the porch, where the steps have yet to be installed.

Hershey Bryant is pretty spry for 82 years.

The property is also shared by four dogs, Jill, Muffin, Harry and Dusty, who Mrs. Bryant called the (unofficial) “Mayor of Newbern.”

This is the third trailer donated through the foundation. A trailer was previously donated last year to a 99-year-old woman who also lost her house to fire, and Beverly Williams also received a donated trailer because her home was destroyed by fire.

The Friends of Hale County Foundation is led by Law Lamar IV of Mountain Brook. Chism first worked with Lamar through the Helena United Methodist Church, and she quickly learned about the plight of many Black Belt residents. Now she is committed to working to help the needy in Hale County. The majority of the work the foundation performs is for the elderly, she said.

“We’re bombarded,” Chism said. “My husband said my phone is at my ear all the time. Once people hear that there is help” the calls are constant.

The foundation is asking for help from individuals, businesses and area churches. There is a need for monetary donations as well as donations of trailers and other items.

For more information call Chism at 1-205-243-5031.