Senior Call Back Program

Published 4:13 pm Thursday, March 3, 2011

CUMBERLAND -The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office and Fitzgerald Memorial Baptist Church have joined together to make sure community members and nearby neighbors in the County are safe on a daily basis.

The new initiative is called the “Senior Call Back Program” and additional volunteers are needed to make those important, sometimes lifesaving, calls, according to Cumberland's Sheriff Darrell Hodges and Fitzgerald's Pastor Todd Bradbury.

“The way we're hoping this will work is we're going to get a list of seniors that may live by themselves or may be shut-ins or something of that nature and we will give each person a couple of names and they'll call those names sometime during the evening or whatever time is set or sometime during the day…,” explained Sheriff Hodges to The Herald on Wednesday about how the new program will work as a check to make sure residents in the county are safe.

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The community member volunteering as a caller would call, for example, a senior at 7 p.m. on a daily basis and then if there's no answer one evening the person would call again in thirty minutes, according to the Sheriff's description.

If still no answer, the caller would then alert the Sheriff's Office and a deputy would be sent out to physically check on the resident.

“One of the things our church is trying to do is to be what is called a missional church, and basically that means we are reaching out beyond the borders of our church to reach into the community, to simply ask the question of 'How can we be a blessing to the community?'” noted Pastor Bradbury about how Fitzgerald's partnership with the Sheriff's Office began.

According to the new pastor, he talked with Hodges about how the church could be of some help to the Cumberland community and discovered the Sheriff's plans for the call back program. The Sheriff's Office also works to provide firewood to those in need in Cumberland.

“We took it back to our church and we had a number of folks who agreed from the church that would agree to be the call-givers,” said Pastor Bradbury about the call back program. “We're just excited about working with Sheriff Hodges in being able to be a help and a blessing…”

In order for the program to get off the ground and succeed, both Sheriff Hodges and Fitzgerald Baptist are looking for additional call givers to assist with making daily calls to seniors within the Cumberland community.

“What we're looking for is for the people who are interested in being put on the list to be called and for the folks to be call-givers,” said Sheriff Hodges about those who are looking to serve the community.

The interest for this program started with Sheriff Hodges this winter when a Cumberland senior resident was found deceased in their home.

“They had expired and had been in their home for almost a week before anyone had actually noticed that she hadn't been seen,” he described about how this program idea started and is needed in Cumberland. “Folks thought she had gone to visit family up north and it wasn't unusual because of the holiday and she had been down for almost a week before anyone really noticed that she was gone…”

Previously, while Sheriff Hodges served in Buckingham County, he remembered, he also had an experience with a lady who had slipped and fallen while outside and was found three days later.

“Thank goodness she didn't expire but that was horrible,” he said about the need for this type of program in communities. “The biggest thing is that it gives families, who may not live around, the ability to do welfare checks that they would like to do for their loved ones. It gives them a little extra security that we're checking on them daily.”

For more information about the Senior Call Back Program contact the Cumberland Sheriff's Office at (804) 492-4120 or Vicki Norman at (804) 492-4169 (please leave a message if it's during daytime hours).