I recently learned of a situation that I’m seeking community help with.
Jim and D’Ann Trethan are an elderly couple in their 70's that have been married for over five decades. They met while Jim was in the Navy and stationed in Corpus Christi, Texas. It was the 1960’s and D’Ann was working as a hostess at the USO. A romance quickly ensued. Fifty-two years later and they’re still together. They've never had children, so for all of these years ~ it’s been only the two of them.
Jim has been in and out of the hospital because of emphysema and COPD, and D’Ann has been diagnosed with congestive heart disease. Sadly, because of overwhelming medical bills from multiple hospital stays, they are now homeless. Their house foreclosed a little over a year ago when they couldn't keep up with the medical bills .
Now they live under a carport where Jim rents space to do what he's always done - paint and body work on automobiles.
I think about this – how these elderly citizens are now living – and I picture my own mother, an under-educated eighty-three year old woman that worked in housekeeping her entire life. If my mother didn’t have her three daughters to take care of her, to watch over her – even in the face of poor choices she’s made in her own life – where would she be now? Would she even be alive? Would she be homeless and sick, like Jim and D’Ann?
And then I think about myself. My husband and I also have no children. We’ve planned and saved for our retirement, and we have jobs that provide health insurance . But what if, God forbid, something terrible happened and everything changed? Could we end up in the same position Jim and D’Ann have found themselves in?
I came to know D’Ann through the dog-rescue community on Facebook; something we're both active in. We were working together to find help for a very pregnant, injured, and sick dog that was living in a field near them. Through teamwork with other volunteers, we located a wonderful 501c3 rescue in Wisconsin that agreed to take her in. We arranged for a local foster and vet care, and then planned her transport up North. We called her DeAnn, in honor of the angel that first sought help for her. DeAnn-the-dog and the twelve puppies she delivered (just as she arrived in Wisconsin) would not have been saved if not for D’Ann.
What I think is so lovely about D’Ann is that although she and Jim are without a home of their own, her daily concern is for the feral and stray animals she sees every day. She’s been feeding homeless dogs for more than two decades, working to get them off the street and into rescues or forever-homes whenever she can. She does the same for several cat-colonies in the San Antonio area. There has been some criticism and judgments over her method of helping these animals. But these animals would die a horrible death of starvation if not for the food she provides, and I – as a fellow animal lover and rescuer - am grateful for that.
The Trethan’s are now down to one vehicle, as her car engine finally blew and is not repairable without funds they don't have. Still; Jim drives D'Ann around in his car in the evenings so that she can feed the hungry, homeless and abandoned animals of their neighborhood. *(she tries to get donated dog and cat food whenever possible)
When she recently commented on a rescue-thread that her phone was about to be turned off and we might not be able to reach her for a while – a few of us became concerned. I knew on some level they were struggling but I’d somehow missed how desperate it was. So, D’Ann and I began a dialogue. Through all of it, she maintained that her concern and worry was over no longer being able to feed the animals that have come to rely on her.
*My* concern is that, although we're nearing the end-of-summer, winter will be here soon, and she and Jim will be outside, in the cold.
Jim and D’Ann receive approximately $1500 per month in social security. They pay $600 per month to the business Jim rents his carport space from; he does this so that he can continue working, although work is harder to come by, as he is tied to an oxygen machine 24/7. There's a sofa under the carport that serves as Jim’s bed. D’Ann has taken to sleeping in the passenger side of his car. They have electric fans to try and stay cool, and a small refrigerator - so they’re able to keep small amounts of food fresh.
I want to make clear; Jim and D'Ann are not part of the drug-addicted homeless (no judgments; just stating this in case some people may wonder). They're merely two people that lived a good life together, but have recently fallen on hard, hard times - and unfortunately at the worst time; in their senior years, when they're no longer physically healthy enough to better their situation on their own.
They're just hanging on, the best way they can.
My hope – what I’m striving to do – is to find a way, any kind of way, to help them get into an RV camper. They've acquired permission from the business owner where Jim does his body-work to put one on the land where they’re currently staying, behind the shop. They’ve looked for a camper themselves but have found nothing they can afford.
I’ve begun searching online and have determined that we can purchase a decent used RV camper for somewhere around $3500. It all depends on the camper’s condition; if it’s watertight, if the electrical and heater are in working order, etc. Anything cheaper, I've found, needs too much work. *An older, not-in-use DONATED camper would also be ideal if someone has one on their property or in their garage that they want to get rid of, but haven't taken the time to deal with . *(if anyone reading this has one that they'd like to donate, please message me)*
In the past I’ve been successful in raising necessary funds for several dogs in need. I've also been able to raise funds for emergency hospital stays for loved ones. But I’ve never tried to raise donations for a homeless, elderly couple that need a safe place to sleep. I so hope we can help them.
That’s where hopefully you come in. Please, if you can, help us help them. There is no donation too small. If we’re able to hit our goal, I’m certain we can find something for Jim and D’Ann to live in so that they don’t have to spend their final years homeless, living under a carport.
Picture this, if you will. Imagine your parents - or your grandparents… only this time picture them with no surviving family, very limited funds, deteriorating health, nearing the end of their journey on earth – and all alone, with no help in sight.
Please, please – help us help them if you can.
*(I will provide a copy of the receipt of a purchased camper when it’s obtained. If i find one for less money and we've raised enough to buy it, i will close this fundraiser. My ONLY goal is to find them an inexpensive, but suitable camper to call home.)
Thank you, thank you for your generous and kind heart.
~ Becky McCray
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