Never Giving Up Giving Back - Page 2
Matthew was a stoic silent type and Thelma never knew he was sick until it was too late. One day he was taken to the hospital, “He didn’t tell me he had cancer. ... He said they were going to operate on him the next day, and I asked what for, and he said he didn’t know,” Thelma explained. Sadly, things didn’t go according to plan and Matthew didn’t survive the surgery.
At the relatively young age of 47 years old, Thelma found herself a widow and face the prospect of looking after not only herself, but also her children. Fortunately there was a way, Thelma took a job for a wealthy lady looking after the woman’s dog and cleaning her house. You could say they came from different worlds, the lady was wealthy and Thelma was struggling and working hard to move herself and her children out of the projects and into a rented house.
Thelma’s employer learned of these plans, but asked why Thelma wasn’t considering buying a home. Such a prospect seemed crazy to Thelma, surely nobody would lend her money to buy a house of her own. Thankfully her employer thought rather differently and gave her $10,000 and Thelma’s family had a place to call their own for the first time.
In the early 1950s Thelma volunteered to head a food service program at a local church and it was a role to last her for more than 50 years. This was the start of Thelma’s career of giving back, of volunteering and helping others, undertaking small tasks that make a world of difference. Even to this day at an age of 91, Thelma is still volunteering, still helping others and still making a world of difference to many lives with little signs of slowing down, “The more you can stay active, the longer you’ll live,” says Thelma.
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