Hearts Helping Others

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

Hearts Helping Others is a program operated by EudoraReporter.com where each month, we select an individual or family that is in need of help and give them a hand up.

March 2011


Late last week I had the opportunity to meet two truly unique individuals in the community, Gordon Duzan and his wife Terry.  Gordon is a Baptist Minister who has been running the Yokefellow Baptist Church in Eudora since 2007.  We will talk more about the church shortly but you need to know first about these fine individuals.

Gordon served in the military and was injured during the Vietnam War. After his injury, he was returned to Fort Dix, New Jersey where he found two things, his wife Terry and God.  Gordon and Terry, after leaving the military, traveled the country taking over churches that were in dire straits and helped to turn them around. He and Terry would then move on to the next one.

Finally in 2007, the settled here north of Eudora and started a Bible Study group run out of their house. Gordon continued to minister to people nearby and slowly started building a following.  After outgrowing their house, and at the urging of several of the bible study group members, they decided to start the Yokefellow Baptist Church.  The church holds services every Sunday at the Hillcrest Apartments Clubhouse located at 703 W. 8th Street at 1:30PM. They also continue to have a Bible Study group that meets every Thursday night at 6:30 at the same location.

Gordon and Terry were putting a lot of time into running a church and things were going well for them until May of 2010. Gordon was sitting at his normal hangout, Anthony’s Diner where he meets several friends from the church on a regular basis, when he suddenly had a heart attack.

“They lost me three times, here at Anthony’s, on the way to the hospital and again at the hospital.” Through the power of great doctors and divine intervention, Gordon made it through the heart attack.  Gordon credits both his doctor and the Lord for his recovery. If dealing with a heart attack is not enough of a trauma to get through, Gordon busted both hips during the attack. Gordon still has difficulty walking because of the busted hips and deals with a much regimented medical rehabilitation program to help his heart.

Many people say “God will never give you more than you can handle.”  Well, that is definitely put to the test in Gordon and Terry’s situation.  In January 2011, in a matter of minutes, their house north of town burned to the ground.  While firefighters tried to do what they could, time was not on their side.

Holding his hands out about as wide as his body frame, Gordon stated “The longest piece of wood that remained after the fire was only this long. All my memories, papers, everything…gone in just minutes. We only had the clothes we wearing left.”

Gordon and Terry did receive a lot of help from the Baptist Community, not only in Eudora but from all over the Midwest. “We had people drive up furniture and items from Oklahoma. It was truly amazing how these people reached out to us to help.” Gordon and Terry are currently renting a house in Eudora while going through the ordeal of insurance companies and work so that they can rebuild a home for themselves.

Through it all, Gordon and Terry have not lost their faith or drive to spread the good word. Gordon, when we told him what we were writing about, preferred the story not to be about him or Terry but about the church.  The trials and tribulations that would make most people question their luck, their life or beliefs would be understandable. Despite the issues, Gordon and Terry’s outlook on life is extremely positive.

One of the gifts that Gordon and Terry receive from the Hearts Helping Others program is a $100 gift card to the Black Cat Café.  In the true sense of paying it forward, Gordon asked if he himself had to use the gift card. “I can help feed some people with this who are truly in need.” With the expenses for medical costs, trying to run a church, and rebuild a life from a devastating fire, we think Gordon fits into the “truly in need” category.  Gordon disagreed with me. “My life is blessed.”

One other note which I promised Gordon I would mention: The church needs some musical leadership. If you are willing to share talents and help provide some type of service to the Yokefellow Baptist Church community, feel free to head over to the Hillcrest Apartment Clubhouse any Thursday evening or Sunday afternoon and talk to Gordon.  They also serve a great pot luck lunch/dinner after the Sunday service which Gordon said is some of the greatest food you’ll ever taste.

Gordon and Terry have been given, courtesy an anonymous donor, a $100 gift card to the Black Cat Cafe and they both will receive some TLC in the form of hair care courtesy Diane Elmer at Heads or Nails Family Salon, both in downtown Eudora.

We would like to thank that anonymous donor and Diane Elmer for their kind generosity.  These people are truly hearts in our community. We would also like to thank the Hearts Helping Others Committee that has the task of choosing an individual or family each month and taking time out of their busy schedules to work on this project.

Hearts Helping Others is a way for our community to help give back to others from our community. Each month, Hearts Helping Others will identify a recipient who needs a helping hand.  The story above is just one example of someone in need.

Many other examples exist in our own backyard here in Eudora. We need you to tell us about other great stories. We are accepting nominations for April. You can nominate a person or family by going to http://www.eudorareporter.com/hearts-helping-others/.   We have a form on our website to nominate an individual or family or you can email us with their story. The email address is: heartshelpingothers@eudorareporter.com

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Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

Hearts Helping Others is a program operated by EudoraReporter.com where each month, we select an individual or family that is in need of help and give them a hand up.

February 2011

Colleen Thornbrugh and her sons Tyler and John Paul just try to make it though each day.  That’s not an easy task for the three. Tragedy has beset these people in unbelievable ways.

Colleen’s problems started back in 1997 when she was in a serious vehicle accident where she sustained major injuries including a shattered leg and severe back problems. Colleen went through multiple surgeries trying to correct the damage.  While she is able to walk unassisted, these injuries led to a life of pain and suffering. Colleen has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, likely caused from the accident.  Colleen has been on disability ever since the accident.

While having a person in the family on disability is a strain on expenses, Colleen and her husband Roger were able to make due. Roger worked for the University of Kansas as a sign painter.

Over time, Roger began suffering health related problems due to emphysema and COPD. Roger’s heart also was in trouble.  By April 2009, Roger’s heart was in such bad shape, he had to go on disability also.  In November of 2009, Roger ended up in the hospital due to complications from COPD.  Roger spent two months in KU Med trying to recover.  Roger was finally able to make it home from KU Med, but the ravages of this disease had taken their toll.  Colleen lost her beloved husband of 33 years on July 4, 2010. Roger was only 55 years old.

With both Colleen and Roger on disability, and multiple surgeries and hospitalizations, any savings that had been built up was instantly gone to pay off all the medical bills.  The only life insurance policy Roger had, was through his job and that disappeared went he went on disability.  As if the loss of a husband and father was not enough, Tyler, the oldest boy was laid off in the spring of 2010 while his father was dying.  Colleen and her kids were left with hardly anything.

The tragedy of loss has taken its toll on the family both mentally, physically and financially. The kids have struggled without having Dad around anymore and Colleen simply just tries to make it through the day.

“I just worry how I’m going to make it. I hope that the utility bill isn’t too high.  I worry about not having anything to eat around here. We might go a couple of weeks without any meat.”

Their washing machine is broke down. They hand wash everything because they can’t afford the machines at the laundromat. A smashed up car sits in the driveway because Colleen doesn’t have the money to have it fixed. Colleen’s only mode of transportation is via her son and his older pickup truck.  Just last week Colleen had to cancel a doctor’s appointment for her back problems because she had to choose between using the gas to get to her appointment or pick up the younger son from school.

“My daughter Alena tries to help out when she can.” Alena lives in Seattle, WA. “She’s got her own difficulties to worry about though.  Through it all, she’s done a lot.”

While someone with this type of predicament may dream of material things they would want or need, Colleen’s concerns are for her family. “My kids are so great. They are a treasure. They pick me up when I’m down.”

When we asked her what would be her one wish if it could be granted, it was simply to know that her kids are going to be okay.  “I just want to make sure that my son completes high school and my other boy gets a job.”  She added, “I will probably end up in some low income housing somewhere…but I just want the kids to be successful.”

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Colleen and her sons have been given, courtesy an anonymous donor, a $100 gift card to the Black Cat Cafe and they boys will also get haircuts and a nice package of hair care products courtesy Diane Elmer at Heads or Nails Family Salon, both in downtown Eudora.

We would like to thank that anonymous donor and Diane Elmer for their kind generosity.  These people are truly hearts in our community. We would also like to thank the Hearts Helping Others Committee that has the task of choosing an individual or family each month and taking time out of their busy schedules to work on this project.

Hearts Helping Others is a way for our community to help give back to others from our community. Each month, Hearts Helping Others will identify a recipient who needs a helping hand.  The story above is just one example of someone in need.  Many other examples exist in our own backyard here in Eudora. We need you to tell us about other great stories. We are accepting nominations for March. You can nominate a person or family by going to http://www.eudorareporter.com/hearts-helping-others/.   We have a form on our website to nominate people or you can email us with their story.

Also, if you can help out the Thornbrugh family or want to help out others with goods or services, you can call us (785-542-9466) or email us with that information at  heartshelpingothers@eudorareporter.com

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EudoraReporter.com started with a very simple purpose. That purpose was to inform the community about news, events and information pertinent to our community.  Once in a while, while performing that task, something special happens.

Recently, we were approached by an anonymous person who wanted to give a little bit of help back to their community.  This person asked us for help in identifying a person or persons whom they could give a little extra reward to that may be in need. To borrow a line from our friends at KQRC-FM and their Hope for the Holidays program, not a hand out, but a hand up.

Out of this anonymous donor’s idea, a project was born.

Hearts Helping Others is a program where, once a month, a person or family in our community will receive a much needed hand up.  These folks could be someone who may be displaced by a fire, or, it could be someone who has some health problems.  These are just two examples and there are certainly hundreds and all extremely varied.

The selected recipient (or recipients) of this program will receive a package that will include a $100 gift card to the Black Cat Café and a free hair cut from Heads or Nails Family Salon in downtown Eudora.

Now, we are looking to you, our fine readers, to also become one of our Hearts Helping Others. We need you to tell us about some truly great people.  We have added a nomination form to the site for you to fill out and tell us who we can help.  You can get there by clicking on Hearts Helping Others on the menu across the top of any web page, or go to: http://www.eudorareporter.com/hearts-helping-others/

For those of you who might wonder who would qualify, read on to find out about a family here in Eudora who is truly deserving.

January 2011

The Jobe Family

Bryan and Bobbi Jobe and their three children, Dakota, Oliver and Anika, have their share of problems.  In October 1996 Bryan was diagnosed with diabetes. One of the boys also is autistic. If that was not enough to deal with, the Jobes, out of kindness and compassion for children, decided to become foster parents in 2006.  In 2007, they adopted Anika from the foster care program.

Life was as normal as can be for this family until late in 2008. It was at this time complications from Bryan’s diabetes set in.  Bryan was able to work construction, provide for the family, and a stable income.  After the complications of diabetes set in, Bryan was forced to go on disability. Since 2008, Bryan has suffered pneumonia, dehydration, multiple vision problems, wounds that won’t heal, and the most critical blow to his health, kidney failure. Bryan has been in and out of the hospital frequently, including a hospitalization just last week.  Bryan has a home dialysis unit to help maintain his kidney functions so that he can be with the family and not have to spend more time at the hospital receiving those treatments.

While Bryan’s health continued to deteriorate, the family had to give up their foster care license.  Since Bryan has been on disability, he does what he can to help the family.  He cooks meals and attends to the children as best as he can.  Many times, the kids have to cook the meals since he is not physically able to do so and Bobbi is at her job at the Bert Nash Mental Health Center in Lawrence.  Bryan does try to go to as many of the kids activities as possible for him with his weakened condition.

“I drive occasionally, but only local and during the day.” Bryan said. “Its last minute and I have to get the kids there.”

All four of the other family members pitch in to not only help around the house, but help with Brian’s care. “Our kids know the difference between a saline bag and a cartridge” Bobbi said. “They all have had to grow up a little faster than most other kids”.

Bryan, with a smile on his face, stated how helpful the kids have been to Bobbi and him. “We’re blessed with good kids. They have had to learn and do a lot more than most kids.”

Bryan is hoping for a kidney transplant. That has not been possible to this point. With all of his medical conditions, particularly his high blood pressure, doctors cannot perform the transplant. “It’s a catch-22 argument” Bryan said. “My blood pressure is high because of the kidney failure and they refuse to give me a new kidney because my blood pressure is too high.” Bobbi told us how the least little ailment affects him great greatly because of all the treatment, his immune system is so weak.

To control his blood pressure and deal with the other medical conditions Bryan faces every day, he takes about 18 different medications and visits doctors on an average of three to five times a week.  Bryan spends anywhere from two to two and half hours each night on the dialysis machine.  This treatment not only causes pain and discomfort but then he can’t sleep. “My normal day is that I get anywhere from two to four hours of sleep a night. It’s not restful sleep. I sleep maybe an hour then wake up for twenty minutes then get another hour of sleep.” He added that “I try to rest during the day, but sleep is difficult. Mostly what I do is sit around because I can’t do anything. My balance is shot, so I have to stay off my feet most of the time.”

The strain on all of the family members is tremendous. Bryan suffers from depression due to lack of being able to function and dealing with this day in and day out. “I don’t know how many more times I can go through with the hospital visits. One of these times, I’m going to go in and I know I’m not coming back. I’m surprised I haven’t had a heart attack or stroke already from all this.”

“Without the support of our church we wouldn’t be able to function” Bobbi said.  “We are truly blessed knowing all the people at Eudora Baptist Church.  We couldn’t make it without those great people. Many times, they pick up or take the kids somewhere for us because we just can’t do it.”

Bryan’s future is unknown right now. “In January, we will have a meeting with KU to determine if I can go on the transplant list or not. That will be the day we find out if I have to deal with this for the rest of my life or if I can get a transplant.”

With sadness in his eyes, he stated, “I hope I can make it long enough to see my kids graduate.”

Pastor Kevin Wood from Eudora Baptist Church nominated Bryan, Bobbi and all three kids as the first recipients of the Hearts Helping Others Program. The Jobes have been given a $100 gift card to The Black Cat Café and all five family members will receive haircuts courtesy Heads or Nails Family Salon.  We wish to thank Pastor Wood, our anonymous donor and Diane Elmer at Heads or Nails Family Salon in Downtown Eudora for providing a much needed hand up to the Jobes.

To nominate a person or family for the Hearts Helping Others Program, make sure to go to the nomination page on EudoraReporter.com, fill out the form and become one of the truly great hearts in our community.

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