A "little old dog," religious faith and a sense of humor are what carries this wife through life's challenges.
She and her husband, a veteran, are both disabled. Their only income is the husband's small disabled veteran's pension.
"Even our dog is disabled, no kidding, the dog is 20 years old and in diapers, but she has been a good family dog her whole life," the woman said.
The woman suffers from several ailments including painful arthritis and neuropathy. There are times she's unable to use her hands and feet.
"I've been too sick to cook and my husband can't, so we get Meals on Wheels two times a week," she said.
Their car is in need of repairs, but they can't afford to have it fixed. Even if they did, she says they can't afford the gas to go anywhere. They live in an area of Kootenai County where there is no public transportation. She said she's trying to find ways to get to the most important places, the doctor's office and the pharmacy.
They both need dental work. She said it takes them three months to save up to pay for one filling, and they both need several.
"We are struggling, but I figure if that little old dog in diapers, with her hips giving way as she walks along, can put one paw in front of another and soldier on, so can I," she said.
She said she tries to meet each challenge as it arises, and relies on her Catholic faith to sustain and renew her when she becomes discouraged.
The couple's financial challenges have magnified over the last few years, and during the last two holiday seasons, Press Christmas for All has helped carry them through.
"If it wasn't for the generosity of this community, we wouldn't have Christmas at all. It's encouraging and heartwarming to know people in the community care about you," she said.
Last year, the couple received a donated tree that had lost half its needles. They dressed it up with a little silver tinsel and sang holiday songs.
"We had the best tree, the best Christmas ever," she said. "Christmas for All made us feel the real Christmas spirit in our hearts, and that truly is the very best gift of all."
With our readers' assistance, Press Christmas for All works to brighten the holidays for people like this - the jobless, homeless, those who are barely making ends meet, individuals with disabilities or illnesses. Many are alone this holiday season.
Each year, our generous readers' donations allow us to assist thousands of Kootenai County families in need. Each day until Christmas, we will share the stories of those whose holiday memories will be a little happier because of Press Christmas for All.
Donations are collected, then distributed in the form of gift cards to Kootenai County residents in need.
Press Christmas for All is a holiday charity now in its 27th year. It is managed as a nonprofit by The Hagadone Corp. Because it is run by volunteers from The Hagadone Corp. and their partners at Kootenai County Fire and Rescue, with assistance from North Idaho College employee volunteers, every penny raised is distributed in the form of gift cards from Shopko or Super 1 Foods, local retailers who also generously support the program. The cards can be used to buy food and gifts but not alcohol or tobacco products. All contributions are tax deductible.
To give, please send a check to:
Press Christmas for All 201 Second St. Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
You can also call (208) 664-8176 weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and donate by credit card.
Donations can be made securely online at www.christmasforallcda.com
Recent donors: Roberta Manley, in memory of Oliver Manley; Dr. Ellen & Jerry Jaeger; Jerry & Debbie Cross, Jack & Gail Thompson (In memory of Dave Kramer & Truman Thompson); Joan & Bill Boyd; Anonymous, Linda Isaacson; Charles & Dorothy Clock; Frank & Betty Henderson; Rhoda & Clifford Schlehuber; Catherine Tinder; Anonymous; Steven & Carol Green; Fred & Marie Bear; Donald & Mark Mitchell (In memory of Louise Mitchell); Leroy & Ada May Foster; K. Ann Halbert; Richard & Joanne Raymond; J. & P. Dixon; Jamie Danish; N. & Shirley McCormack; Cheryl & Robert Haughton; Cynthia Kirkley; Anonymous; W. & J. Kroon; Craig & Connie Burkhart; Thomas & Sally Stuber; L. & F. Grutta; R. Link; Alan & Mary Pettit; Marvin & Naomi Blakely; Jeanette Kirkley; Paul & Ginny Westhafer (In memory of our parents, Andrew & Rose Westhafer, Keith & Peggy Cluckey); Carol & Robert Yost; H. & K. Hayes; Betty Cheeley; D. & Suzanne Nussear; Raymond Fischer; Don Horne Family; Bonnie McDowell (In loving memory of my husband George & son Randy); Bill & M. Jean Sage; Red Hat Society; Jill & Kevin Ethington; Medicine Man Pharmacy.
Thank you for allowing us to once again help those in need in our community. Our hearts are moved for people who are hurting in so many ways. Also, thank you, Coeur d'Alene Press, volunteers at the Hagadone Corporation as well as the Kootenai County Fire and Rescue people for doing so much for these families here. God bless you for this tremendous outreach program.
- Larry and Adrienne Unruh
This donation is in memory of an Air Force friend, Ervin Paszek, who was killed in an air crash.
On Sept. 10, 1962, his Air Force KC-135 crashed into Mt. Kit Carson, near Mt. Spokane. There were no survivors.
Erv and I were stationed together at Mountain Home AFB near Boise. We were jet aircraft mechanics, worked and ate meals together for four years. I really have missed not having his friendship these past 50-plus years. He was a great friend and Air Force comrade.
Please use this donation as you see fit in Erv's honor.
- Harold E. Markiewicz