At Befrienders we hear so many heart-warming stories that make us so appreciative of being able to be involved in the work that we do! We would like to share those stories with you and will update this page with new stories as we hear them. Please enjoy, and contact us to share your story!
SHE WAS MY FRIEND: Beverly and Sheree
My friendship with Beverly began quite by accident. As a matter of fact, the former Director of Befrienders referred to it as a “happy accident.” I, however, know that it was not an accident at all – it was meant to be.
It was July of 2011 and Bev had a college age Befriender. I was asked to befriend Beverly while her friend was on summer break. I gladly accepted. I had a lot of time on my hands since my husband and I had moved to Bozeman. He had accepted a job that required a long commute and long hours. It was a big adjustment for us in addition to the big move we had made from Texas.
Beverly and I were introduced to each other and quickly became friends. The truth is, we became much more; we became family. My family was in Colorado and Bev’s family was also out of town. I was working a part-time job, but anytime my husband was working, I would head right over to Bev’s.
I love to cook, and noticed that as a single person, Bev had a lot of microwaveable food in her freezer. Nothing made me happier than cooking for Bev in her kitchen. She would sit and watch me and we would just talk. Sometimes I brought pots, pans, bowls or anything else I would need to make our meal. She would meet me at the door and would fondly refer to me as “meals on wheels”. We really enjoyed each other’s company.
Beverly and I were Befrienders for two years. She was so very special to me. Anytime I traveled, she would want to know when we were leaving and when we were coming back. She would mark it on the calendar. I always sent her postcards from wherever we traveled. I quickly introduced her to my husband and friends and whenever we had a special occasion in our family, Bev would be included. She was part of our family.
Beverly had Parkinsons Disease and had some physical limitations. She walked with the aid of a walker, but still had her independence, her driver’s license, and a great sense of humor. Bev had been involved with several different groups and still got together with many of the ladies. She also hosted her Bible study group. When it was too difficult for her to go to them, they came to her. Beverly had a special way about her and was loved by so many.
I originally joined Befrienders to be a blessing to someone else. It turned out that Bev was a bigger blessing to me. I was so thankful for the time I had with Bev. As it turned out, my husband and I made the decision to move back to Colorado to be with family. It was so difficult to leave Bev, but we remained friends and I called her weekly and kept her up to date on what we were doing.
Sadly, Beverly passed away in July of this year (2014). She always said she was a “lucky duck” to have us. The truth is, we were the lucky ones to have known and loved her. She may be gone, but I will never forget my friend.
-Sheree, Befrienders Volunteer
LUNCH DATES: Don and Cami
Six weeks before she was due to go overseas, Don’s current Befriender, Jillisa, began calling me about getting a replacement for him. She just couldn’t imagine what would happen to him if he went even one week without a Befriender to take him out. In order to calm his nerves, I met them for lunch to talk to him about finding him a new friend (this was one month before his current volunteer was due to leave). At this lunch I did something I promised I would never do as the Executive Director of Befrienders – I promised Don that I would find him a new volunteer before his current one left. And then one couldn’t be found…
Don’s wife died 20 years ago. They had had two children, but both died in childhood. He has only one living brother, who spends a little time in this area during the summer, but is gone all winter. He has one niece that lives in Belgrade who he speaks very highly of. Aside from this niece, Don has no other visitors, except his Befrienders volunteer. His mind is 100% sharp and he needs to stay active in order to stay physically, mentally and emotionally happy.
So I decided to take Don on his weekly lunch and Wal-Mart dates. After all, who doesn’t love Wendy’s frosties? When I went to talk to him about it, it was like I was throwing him a lifeline. He was so relieved to hear me say that I would make sure he still got out once per week. He told me, “Befrienders means more to me than anything else in this place.” And then his voice broke as he was overcome with emotion and it took him a minute to compose himself. He went on to say that while the assisted living facility where he lives is amazing, he needs to get out occasionally too because, “A person could lose their mind if they never got outside these walls.”
Having a weekly Befriender visitor means the world to Don. It gets him out. It allows him to feel independent. It keep him from “losing his mind.” I’ll find him another volunteer. He’s easy to get along with and very appreciative so it won’t be hard if someone has the time to devote to long lunches. However, in the meantime, I’ll be sharing those lunches with him, which is lucky for me! I enjoy having the chance to see what life is like for a Befrienders volunteer, and I couldn’t have a more thankful senior!
-Cami Armijo-Grover, Volunteer
A THANKFUL SPOUSE
Befrienders visitors can provide much needed respite for spouses, children and other caregivers as they know they can take a break from their caregiving responsibilities while the Befrienders is visiting. We recently received a note from the wife of one of our Befrienders seniors, which simply said, “This program has been a great help to me and a real blessing. Thank you so much.”
-Bonnie, Wife of a Befriended Senior
READING TOGETHER: BRITTNEY and OLIVER
When I first became a Befriender, I had no idea what to expect or what types of activities I might do with my new friend. I was matched with Oliver because we both share an interest in reading. However, while I am blessed to continue with my favorite hobby, Oliver is not. He no longer sees well enough to read. This was a devastating blow to him. When I heard his story I knew that I wanted to be the one to read to him. After we wrap up our time together Oliver is always sure to thank me and he tells me, “thanks for everything.” All I can really say to that is, “no, thank YOU, Oliver.” He gives so much without even realizing it and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity Befrienders has given me.