Islands' Sounder


‘Hearts and Hands’ helps seniors

August 25, 2013 · Updated 12:19 PM

Stephen Bentley and Tony / Contributed photo

Tony had fallen and hurt her shoulder quite badly. The surgeon said her rehabilitation would require months of physical therapy. She would need someone to drive her to her doctor and therapist appointments and to help with household chores. Thus began our friendship.

The above is from Stephen Bentley, a Hearts and Hands volunteer. This program provides practical and emotional support to assist isolated, frail, ill, elderly or disabled neighbors, so they can maintain independence and have an improved quality of life. United Way of San Juan County helps fund Hearts and Hands, which is administrated by the Orcas Island Senior Center. Stephen and Tony’s story continues below.

“You’re a good driver,” she told me one morning. “Better than the others.”

I replied, “I must come about it naturally, my grandfather was a chauffeur.” Slowly, like in “Driving Miss Daisy,” our relationship deepened.

It’s almost two years now and we’ve become very close friends. We’ve found common interests in music, gardening and observing the natural wonders of Buck Bay and Moran State Park. We enjoy sharing lunches at the senior center, Olga Café or Odd Fellows Hall. Tony is teaching me how to use woodworking tools and we are bringing her woodshop back to life.

Hearts and Hands and United Way of San Juan County are committed to helping the most vulnerable members of our community.

United Way provides funding to Hearts and Hands and 27 other programs countywide, including the Orcas Island Family Resource Center, Orcas Elementary PIP program and many more.

These programs provide resources for children and youth, families, the elderly and the disabled.

Every donation to United Way of San Juan County makes a huge difference to these small programs. Ninety-eight percent of donated funds stay local.

For a full list of all 28 United Way of San Juan County funded programs and to contribute, visit www.unitedway-sanjuancounty.org.


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