Help for elderly is on the way

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Editor’s note: This is a commentary by Pam Chism, executive director of Friends of Hale County, a group that strives to make life in the Black Belt better through various projects.

I lost my dear friend Willie Clancy last night. My son Frankie&I had been working with Dave Garner (AU) on a screened in porch for her yesterday. We were there when she got off the Senior Citizens Bus. I knew she did not feel well when I first saw her face. It was a miserable rainy day inHale County yesterday and the ground was very wet. I went out to help her and walked her into the house.

She has never been one to complain but she told me her arthritis was really hurting and she was worried. She pointed to the refrigerator she had had to purchase after the one she had for 20 years quit working. I told her that she should have called me and I would have taken care of getting her another one. She said that I had “done too much” for her already.

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I asked her how much she had paid and realized then the reason for her worry. She was charged over $600 with payments (incl. high interest) of $70 per month. At $560 per month income how was she to pay this extra expense? I told her I would take care of things and not to worry. I even lovingly reprimanded her…reminding her of how she always told me not to worry because she prayed for me every single night before she went to sleep for God to give me safe travel and always watch over me. She smiled said she would try not to worry.

She had the gas turned down very low and had one eye burning on her stove…you see there was not enough funds this month to help with her gas bill. I told her that I was going to bring her an electric blanket and that we would go get her a small electric heater for her room. I hugged her, kissed her on the cheek and told her that I loved her and would be back on Thursday if not before. Before we left she told us what a good job we were doing on her porch and how thankful she was. She assured me she was going to take and aspirin and go on to bed. She went to be with God sometime during the night. I was told she had suffered a heart attack.

My tears flow for her now. She led much harder of a life than she should have but never lost her faith in God. She was always there for others even until the end when she prayed for me last night.

I loving memory of Willie I wish to start a fund in her name from which fund can be drawn for the immediate needs of the elderly. They have earned the right to have the basics of life.

Pam Chism

Executive Director

Friends ofHaleCounty