HJ/EDMarch 6, 2006

Miss Helen sees DC compassion

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

Two local women provided care to an 85-year-old hurricane survivor during their relief effort in Waveland, Mississippi.

Lois Dahl and Sandy Ward of Dassel brought personal care to Miss Helen, one of Camp Katrina’s favorite ladies.

Miss Helen suffers from diabetes and is 90 percent blind. She recently had her toe amputated due to an infection and needs constant care.

Dahl is employed at Lakeview Ranch in Dassel, an Alzheimer’s and Dementia residence, so this was an appropriate job for her.

Miss Helen lives in a small FEMA trailer on what’s left of her property in Waveland. With her house gutted out and small living quarters, she remains humble and gracious with the help she receives.

“I’m impressed on how trusting she is that things will be taken care of…and they do,” Ward explained.

After the hurricane her ruined belongings had to be removed by the pickup deadline.

One couple from Camp Katrina carried all of it to the curb. They saw she had nothing left and gave her $2,000 to furnish her new home.

Miss Helen’s friend called and told her she had paid $500 to have her furniture removed and gutted. Miss Helen boasted, “Well, I got paid to have mine removed.”

Dahl and Ward helped Miss Helen with personal care, monitoring blood sugar, distributing medications, bathing, and some “TLC,” Dahl said.

“It’s fun to hear her stories and where she’s been in life,” Ward said.

On particularly warm day, the ladies were craving a shake from Wendy’s. They decided to bring Miss Helen one. She was so grateful to have a cold, chocolate shake, Dahl said.

Even with the constant care and attention she needed, “It was more of a blessing for me than what we were doing for her,” Dahl said.

For all people that have helped her, she can remember everyone’s name and where they’re from.

Dahl and Ward gave her crocheted potholders, dishcloths, and towel. “She couldn’t stop thanking us,” Dahl said.

The ladies got to hear many stories during their time with Miss Helen. She has been through two marriages in which the first stole the $2000 she earned cutting cotton.

When Miss Helen was young, she needed a prescription. She didn’t have the correct change, but the pharmacist said to her, “Take it, I’ll need you someday.” She became his nanny and he died with four kids in which the youngest was 3-weeks-old.

Even with the many obastacles she’s had to overcome in her life, she remains positive and that attitude pours out to everyone she meets

One of her favorite quotes is, “Cast your bread on the waters and the crumbs will come back. But now the whole loaf is coming back.”

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