Do­na­tions will help fam­i­lies in need

Sea­son

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - Con­tin­ued from B Ethel Wright is 65 and rais­ing her four grand­chil­dren by her­self. She sits with Ja’rai Brady, 10 (left); Michael Fos­ter, 2; Makhia Fos­ter, 2; and Vir­gil ‘Petey’ Craw­ford, 8. LAURA SKELDING / AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN Ben Snow­den was 29, mar­ried

em­phy­sema. No longer able to work, the Austin mu­si­cian and cook now re­lies on dis­abil­ity checks and the help of Hospice Austin, which nom­i­nated him for Sea­son for Car­ing.

Ethel Wright, 65, isn’t near­ing re­tire­ment. She has four grand­chil­dren to feed and clothe on an in­come she earns work­ing in a din­ing hall at Texas State Univer­sity. Com­mu­nity Ac­tion Inc., which serves two of her grand­chil­dren in its early Head Start pro­gram, nom­i­nated Wright for Sea­son for Car­ing.

Tracy Jack­son, 51, had to stop work­ing af­ter symp­toms from mul­ti­ple sclero­sis made her un­able to walk and lim­ited the use of her arms. The former Marine lives on dis­abil­ity pay­ments and the help of Meals on Wheels and More, her Sea­son for Car­ing agency.

The ef­fects of HIV and mul­ti­ple other health con­cerns have left Paul Hal­tom, 37, and Daniel Townsend, 57, un­able to work. Townsend is mostly us­ing a wheel­chair, and most days are spent be­tween the hospi­tal and the doc­tors’ of­fices. Their dis­abil­ity pay­ments only go so far, but Care Com­mu­ni­ties, the agency that nom­i­nated the cou­ple to Sea­son for Car­ing, also helps.

This year Sea­son for Car­ing chose 12 fam­i­lies to fea­ture, and while most think of fam­i­lies in need as be­ing filled with chil- dren, th­ese five fam­i­lies rep­re­sent some of the need Austin non­profit agen­cies see in the el­derly and peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties pop­u­la­tions. Through reader do­na­tions of more than $290,000 so far, Sea­son for Car­ing is help­ing Bolaños, Wil­son, Wright, Jack­son, Hal­tom and Townsend, as well as hun­dreds of oth­ers like them through the agen­cies that nom­i­nated them.

All five of th­ese fam­i­lies need help with ba­sic liv­ing ex­penses. Bolaños has a group of sur­geons eval­u­at­ing her for the knee surgery she needs, but they will need a sur­gi­cal cen­ter to do­nate its space and an anes­the­si­ol­o­gist to help as well. Her cit­i­zen­ship con­cerns are be­ing han­dled by at­tor­ney Cristina Zam­brano, but Bolaños would love to have gift cards to H-E-B, Tar­get and Wal-Mart.

Hal­tom and Townsend still have many things on their wish lists, in­clud­ing as­sis­tive de­vices for their bath­room and bed­room, home health care, a hand­i­cap ac­ces­si­ble van, laun­dry and clean­ing ser- in­ci­dent. Stevens, who has since died, was able to help sup­ply Wid­dows with an eye­wit­ness ac­count, Wid­dows said.

Snow­den’s heli­copter had to crash land in a ditch af­ter Snow­den was shot, Stevens wrote in an email he sent in 2004 to Carra Elkins, one of Snow­den’s sis­ters. “For rea­sons I still can’t ex­plain, I in­sisted on count­ing the bul­let holes in the chop­per he was on,” the email said. “There were 68 holes in the chop­per. ... He sacri- vices, and a cell­phone and ser­vice.

The big­gest thing on Ethel Wright’s list is a new or gen­tly used mo­bile home. She also needs help with af­ter-school care for her grand­chil­dren so she can work more hours and le­gal help get­ting cus­tody of her grand­chil­dren.

Most of Wil­son’s needs were taken care of by Cir­rus Logic and reader do­na­tions. He would love gift cards to H-E-B as well.

Jack­son needs a two-bed­room ac­ces­si­ble apart­ment so her daugh­ter, Linda, will have some­where to stay when she’s home from col­lege. She also wants a hand­i­cap ac­ces­si­ble van to make go­ing to doc­tor ap­point­ments eas­ier. The rest of her needs have been taken care of by Am­plify Credit Union, St. David’s Health­Care and read­ers.

To find out more about th­ese Sea­son for Car­ing re­cip­i­ents’ needs, call 445-3590 or email com­mu­nity@states­man.com. ficed his life in an at­tempt to help his fel­low sol­diers.”

“Ben was a vi­tal part of our fam­ily, and we still miss him ev­ery day,” Elkins said. “He has al­ways been my hero, but now he is ev­ery­one’s hero.”

Ben Snow­den was 29 years old and mar­ried with three chil­dren when he died. His wife, Betty, never re­mar­ried, John Snow­den said.

Ben Snow­den was the first sol­dier from Ge­orge­town to die in Viet­nam, John Snow­den said. Ge­orge­town VFW Post 8587 is named in his honor.

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