Sawmills' elderly will not be forgotten

Jun. 20, 2014 @ 06:39 AM

In May, two people in Sawmills who lived alone were found dead, but only several days after they had passed. No one knew to check up on them. No family members lived nearby to come calling. The sad scenarios tugged at Town Councilwoman Gerelene Blevins’ heart, and she told her fellow council members that the town could do better.

“You know, I look at things like that and I think, ‘It could be me,’” Blevins said.

Blevins believes the community of Sawmills needs to take better care of its own because one day we will all grow older and need assistance, especially if our families do not live close by.

At May's town council meeting Blevins brought up the idea for town workers to conduct regular welfare checks, and this week she learned that the Sawmills Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department has adopted her idea.

The Welfare Check program has daytime volunteer firefighters call elderly or handicapped residents who live alone every so often to make sure they are doing well and have all their needs met.  Mayor Bob Gibbs, who works with Sawmills Volunteer Fire and Rescue, said he has called a few individuals and that they were happy to have someone check up on them.

“I enjoyed talking with them,” Gibbs said.  

Residents can submit names and addresses to Town Hall at 828-396-7903. Town Administrator Seth Eckard said there already are 10 residents on the list. That gives Blevins hope that May's events won't be repeated.

“I hope I never hear of that again,” she said.