Grieving widow receives $300

By Sabrina Squire - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Betty Gordon says her longtime friend, Mary Barnette, is struggling emotionally, financially and physically.

"She's really been having a difficult time. He was the only source of income and everything has stopped since he passed away," said Betty. "She's in a bind and she's handicapped, severely handicapped. She's been declared legally blind, of course she can't drive or go anywhere by herself."

So Mary wants to deliver some goodwill the crisp, green kind.

Sabrina Squire: "Here's $100, $200, $300."
Betty Gordon: "It'll help and she'll appreciate it, I know."

We make our way to Mary's house and find the grandmother just inside the doorway, in despair after the delivery that came in the mail denying her disability.

"She said, I'm able to work, I can't see, I can't read because my eyes cross back and forth because I shake. I can't stand more than 10, 15 minutes without falling over, unless I'm leaning against something. Can you read that?" Mary explained.

Mary hasn't worked in a decade since a fall and then complications from surgery. Today Betty hopes another delivery will lift her friend's spirits.

Betty Gordon: "I know well, on behalf of NBC12 and the Acts of Kindness program, they're giving you this $300."
Mary Barnette: "Oh y'all. Thank you!"
Betty Gordon: "We know it won't go far, but it will help."
Mary Barnette: "It won't pay for but two pills."

We try to get Mary to sit down, but a familiar song pulls her down memory lane. The song they played at her husband Ryland's funeral still tugs on Mary's heart. She's surrounded by memories of the man she spent a quarter century with. Everywhere images of his second love.

"He couldn't wait to retire to fish," Mary said.

Mary says Ryland fished all year, in the heat of summer, in the dead of winter, with friends, with family or by himself, like he did the evening of December 10th and didn't return. Mary awoke in the middle of the night and says she knew.

"I knew he was dead. I called the police department. They said they couldn't do anything for 24 hours," said Mary.

They found Ryland's boat the next day. It was six weeks later, January 28th when they found his body.

Sabrina Squire: "What have the past few months been like for you?"
Mary Barnette: "I have spent a lot of days in bed just crying."

Mary's living with the pain, but soon may not be able to live in the house.

"This house is gone be condemned they said," Mary said.

There are so many holes to be patched, cracks to be filled. Ryland was doing repairs himself.

"I'd like to move actually, I know I can't afford it," said Mary.

So Mary awaits a small life insurance settlement. She's getting food stamps now and says she's grateful for the kindness of friends like Betty.

"We've always had a special bond," she said.

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