Returning the Favor

By TERRY MATHEWS | News-Telegram Arts Editor

Oct 19, 2007 - The Bible says, "It is more blessed to give than to receive," and for years, Slyvia Petty gave to others, raising money for the sick and those in need.

Staff Photo by Angela PItts

Elston Petty sits outside in his wheelchair Thursday with wife Sylvia, daughter Amy McGary and son Jarred Hooker on the ramp that Jarred helped build after Elston recently had a stroke. A bake sale will be held Saturday in front of Dollar General on South Broadway Street, and a stew and auction Nov. 10 at Miller Grove school to help with medical expenses.

Now, it's time for Petty and her husband, Elston, of Brashear to receive some blessings.

To say the Pettys have suffered from ill health is an understatement — their hospital bills have climbed to more than $100,000. Meanwhile, the Pettys receive about $1,400 in disability benefits each month.

Mr. Petty, 51, suffers from multiple sclerosis and has been disabled since 1993. Prior to the diagnosis, he worked as a dairy farmer. Late this summer, he suffered a stroke that has left him permanently paralyzed. His specialized wheelchair costs $25,000, according to Mrs. Petty. 

Mrs. Petty, who has a seizure disorder, fell ill and spent time in the hospital early in the year.

They now have a home health care nurse for about 1 hour a day, three days a week, and Mrs. Petty's son Jarried Hooker, 23, who just returned from Iraq, is living with them to help out with Mr. Petty's daily care. Mrs. Petty's daughter, Amy McGary, has taken a temporary leave of absence from her job to help her mother and step-father.

Archie and Carolyn Fluitt know firsthand how the Pettys have given to the community. Mrs. Petty helped raise money when their great-grandson, Christopher Fields, was striken with luekemia.

"They deserve our help," Mr. Fluitt said. "They helped us when our great-grandbaby was sick. He's doing fine now, and we want to help."

Jeannie Weidenbeck, who is helping with the bake sale Saturday, agrees with Fluitt.

"Mrs. Petty has helped with so many fundraisers," Weidenbeck said. "You give and you get back, the Bible says. It's their turn to get something back."

Amy Marshall, a classmate of McGary's, is helping with the bake sale and is also one of the organizers of a stew and live auction to be held next month. 

"They've given a lot to this community," Marshall said. "Now, they're having a hard time, and it's time to help them."

Friends and family will host a bake sale for the couple on Saturday, Oct. 20, in front of the Dollar General Store on South Broadway Street in Sulphur Springs. The sale begins at 10 a.m., but they'll be accepting donations beginning at 9:30, Mrs. Petty said.

The stew and live auction, complete with entertainment, will be held at the Miller Grove School Cafeteria on Saturday, Nov. 10, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

To donate a baked item or an item for the auction, or to help with the stew, call Amy Marshall at 903-473-3752 or Mrs. Petty at 903-520-9124.

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