Sisters Hand- in-Hand helps Macomb resident

Sisters Hand-in-Hand members are shown in Nancy Griffin’s travel trailer home kitchen. Pictured from the left are Dianna Drummond, Janet Nickell, Sherry Gardner, Nancy Griffin, Debbie Wall, Pat Herrin and Susan Ayers.

Sisters Hand-in-Hand, an Oklahoma-based nonprofit ministry, has been a resource for widows in and around Pontotoc County since 2015. With the help of volunteers and support from local churches, SHIH has organized free monthly banquets for widows in the community, along with other community activities.

Recently, SHIH leaders and volunteers extended the hand of the organization to help an individual sister in need.

Nancy Griffin, a frail 83-year-old widow, had been living in deplorable conditions in her run-down home in the small community of Macomb, in Pottawatomie County, for more than a year. With broken pipes and no indoor water, the house had gaping holes in the flooring and black mold covered the walls.

Ms. Griffin was barely living on a monthly Social Security check. Her husband of 60 years died of cancer two years earlier. She had to carry heavy buckets of water into the house for cooking, sponge baths and for flushing the toilet. Most often she slept in a recliner since her bedroom was filled with toxic black mold. Even as she lived without air conditioning and cooked her meals in an electric skillet, Ms. Griffin struggled without complaining about her circumstances.

After finding Ms. Griffin in these conditions, the “Sisters” knew they had to act. By coincidence — or more likely, Providence — on Mother’s Day 2018, SHIH found a 35-foot travel trailer (with slide-outs) for sale in Oklahoma City for $3,000. That very day, they purchased it. 

While the price was right, the trailer was in need of significant repairs. Some of the windows were broken. There were needed plumbing and electrical repairs. Most of the drawers and brackets had to be repaired or replaced, and the carpets had to be cleaned. In addition to the purchase price, SHIH invested $350, along with in-kind donations, to complete the repairs to the trailer.

Helping hands

Many community volunteers and donors helped SHIH repair and update the travel trailer home for Nancy Griffin, including:

• Dean Ross helped repair and install the electricity.

• Curtis Ayers and Rick Drummond, a retired electrician donated some electrical parts and helped repair the plumbing.

• Tank Works Inc. of Allen donated a 250-gallon poly tank for modified use as a septic tank.

• West Sales of Ada donated a queen-size mattress.

• Susan and Curtis Ayers donated a television set and a bedspread.

• SOAR, Southern Oklahoma Addiction Recovery, donated labor to clear land for the travel trailer.

• An anonymous donor contributed a sofa bed.

• Three anonymous SHIH widows donated $1,150.

• Steve and Sherry Gardner donated $500.

• H20 Missions donated $500.

• The Median Adult Sunday School led by Bill Speed, Ada First Church, donated $450.

• Levi Garrett, Rocky Ridge Powersports and Outdoors, donated $100.

Hand-in-Hand

In August 2018, SHIH delivered the travel trailer to Ms. Griffin and connected the propane, electricity and water. For the first time in years, she was able to take an indoor shower and enjoy an air-conditioned and heated home, where she could prepare her meals, sit on a comfortable couch, watch TV and go to sleep in a bedroom where she could breathe easily.

In a photo taken sometime after the delivery of the trailer, Nancy Griffin sits at the entrance of her new home with the smile of a sister who understands the meaning of “hand-in-hand.” 

But the mission is not quite complete. SHIH is still in need of approximately $700 to fulfill the costs associated with the donation of this travel trailer home to Nancy Griffin.

If you are inclined to help SHIH with a donation toward this outstanding $700 expense, contact Debbie Wall at 580-235-2090 or ruggedridgeranch@gmail.com.

About Sisters Hand-in-Hand

Sisters Hand-in-Hand is a nonprofit ministry which works to help widows build a new life, socialize and make new friends. The purpose of this ministry is to be a conduit for building fellowship through an interdenominational effort. 

The SHIH program was founded in 2015 by Debbie Wall of Ada, along with SHIH leadership group members Sherry Gardner, Susan Ayers, Barbara Walters, Pat Herrin, Diana Drummond and Janet Nickell; Pastors Travis Muse, Harold Ware and David Daniels; and widows Judy Quaid and Betty Binkley. The program has grown through the generous assistance of numerous volunteers, churches and organizations throughout Pontotoc County.

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Eric Swanson is the City Hall and general assignment reporter for The Ada News. He spent 15 years working at the Dodge City Daily Globe in Dodge City, Kansas, before joining The Ada News’ staff in 2012.