The Cannon Courier
Woodbury Police officers were called on Tuesday (May 26) to investigate a possible break-in at an apartment.
They found an open window and NOTHING else.
"She didn't have anything to steal," said Patrolman John House. "She didn't have any blankets, toiletries, food or even a shower curtain."
Patrolmen Tommy Miller and Melanie McCormick responded to the call and discovered the woman's plight. Her refrigerator was basically empty.
"There was little containers of applesauce and orange juice they had given her at the hospital," House said.
"It was sad to see somebody actually living like that," Miller said.
Miller talked to neighbors while McCormick called House.
"The first thing that crossed my mind is that we've got to do something to help her," House said. "I know if my mother or my sister was in that kind of shape, I would hope someone would help."
"I told them to meet me at the Dollar General," House said.
Together the officers gathered up the necessary items to help the woman out.
"We didn't do it to get on the news," House said. The woman genuinely needed help. She had a 10-day eviction notice posted on her door.
"We had to act to keep a roof over her head," House said.
The officer suspected the 57-year-old woman had fallen into the cracks of the state's disability programs.
Ironically, House had just taken a POST (Peace Officers Standards and Training) Commission class in Murfreesboro about how to recognize people with disabilities.
The hospital facilities like Clover Bottom Developmental Center in Nashville and Greene Valley Developmental Center in East Tennessee are being closed by the state. The state Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) now handles those issues on a contract basis, he said.
At the Murfreesboro meeting, House learned there are some 132,000 disabled persons in Tennessee, but the needs of only 7,000-8,000 of them are being served.
"With all the stuff that's gone on in news about police and people with disabilities, it is important for us to be able to recognize and react the right way with people of that nature," he said.
Meanwhile, donations continue to pour in for the woman assisted by Miller, McCormick and House.