GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - As South Mississippi begins to frost, Coast residents are getting themselves and their homes prepared. Thanks to the retired senior volunteer program, those who need a little extra assistance in staying warm are able to get the help they need.
Three knocks to the door, followed by your name is what grants you entrance into 76-year-old Thelma Abrams' pink cottage.
Abrams has lived in her cottage for about seven years. Recently she's been having trouble keeping her home warm now that the winter is approaching, so she's had to make some adjustments.
"I will heat the stove. I turn the stove on and get warm," Abrams said. "That stove gets warm and I get warm."
Luckily, Abrams has people like John Armstrong so soon she will not have to depend on her stove to keep warm. Even though Abrams is bound to a wheelchair, that doesn't stop her from being independent, but whenever she needs something, she says she has Armstrong, her guardian angel, to call.
"When the house gets cold or needs some work, I call him and tell him," Abrams said. "When the heater went out in the whole house he said, 'I'll be out there a little later as soon as I get a chance,' and he comes out and fixes it."
Armstrong says volunteering his time means as much to him as it does to the seniors that he's helping.
"You get to meet people that are doing everything they can to take care of themselves," Armstrong said. "It makes you kind of humble about if you've got the means to do whatever you need to do, you know? So yeah, they're just wonderful people."
Most seniors are on fixed incomes, so they can't always afford to get their heaters repaired or a new unit if it breaks.
If you are able to volunteer your time to help inspect or even repair heaters, or if you have a space heater to donate, you're asked to call the Director of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Magdalena Holland, at 228-861-0007.