Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Deaf couple gets help

February 28, 2013

Dear W.C.,

I am writing to ask for help for an older couple I know. They have been married many years and are both deaf. I have tried to visit them a few times but they are not answering their door for me. Their curtains are drawn and the apartment they live in is dark. I know they are home because I have seen them peeking out at me. I know there is something wrong and they may be too embarrassed to let me know they are struggling. They are both very independent. Maybe if you came with me we could convince them to let us help.

— Worried friend

Dear readers,

I went with the man that wrote this letter to visit the older couple. The man explained he had known them for years because he was a sign language translator.

He said he used to see them out and about often. Lately he had not seen them out at all.

The translator said they did not have any children. He also told me they only had each other. Due to the language barrier, people would just wave and walk by. Some would not even wave hello.

He told me most people feel awkward trying to communicate so their world is very lonely.

The apartment building they lived in needed some work and repairs. The translator explained they had a light hooked up to the doorbell that would flash when we pressed the doorbell button.

After pressing it twice they never came to the door. I saw a face peering out of the curtains. I gave a quick wave and they pulled the curtain shut. I did not give up. I pressed the doorbell again and I waited.

After two more tries the translator said, “Oh well, we tried. We might as well leave.” I persisted in ringing the doorbell light. After 15-20 minutes the door opened. The husband stood there looking pale and thin with his coat on. I knew our help was needed.

The translator began to ask a few questions in sign language.

He said out loud what he was signing so I would know what he was saying. He asked the older gentleman if he knew of The Time Is Now to Help.

The man signed yes and leaving the door open went in the apartment and returned with a newspaper. He pointed to that unflattering picture of me and smiled. I nodded my head yes.

I asked the translator to ask if we could come in. The man froze for a minute but when I asked again, “Please, can we come in? It is cold.” With that he invited us in.

The translator asked where his wife was. The deaf man pointed to a door I assumed was their bedroom and signed to the translator that she was not feeling well.

I looked around the small apartment and saw it was cared for but noticed a few repairs needed. I could feel the drafts coming through and knew their utility bills were probably higher than they could manage. I could feel the chill in the air explaining why the deaf gentleman had his coat on. All the lights were off except one very dim lamp.

After a few minutes of their sign language conversation and the translator speaking out loud, I was able to find out their car was broke down and, just as I suspected, they had received a utility bill that was too high for them to pay. On top of that the wife had suffered a bout with the flu and pneumonia that had stretched their expenses even higher.

And just like many of our seniors they decided to eliminate a meal for the day and live inside with coats on. This had not gone so well for the wife as she had become sick.

The husband explained she was all over the flu and pneumonia but still felt very weak. With that the bedroom door opened and out came a petite older woman walking with a cane.

She looked surprised and embarrassed that she had guests. The translator immediately reassured her we were there to help and there was nothing to be embarrassed about, at the same time the husband was frantically signing his wife. The poor woman looked as though she was going to fall so I held her arm.

She looked up at me and after a few minutes she was signing to the translator. He signed back to her smiling. The translator said she recognized me from the photo in the newspaper. She smiled at me and I smiled back to her giving her a hug.

The translator managed to explain to them my need to look around and to go over a budget. I began with looking around the kitchen and it was just as I had expected.

Nothing left but a few canned goods. Nothing fresh was in the refrigerator. I remember eating like this as a child and the gnawing hunger I would feel. I felt so bad for our hearing disabled seniors having to suffer this same feeling. I went to sit next to the elderly woman and reached out for her thin hand. When I took it in mine she looked up surprised.

When she saw the sadness in my eyes I saw tears fill hers. I touched my other hand to my heart and she understood that I knew what they were going through. She tried to look away ashamed but I shook my head no. I told the translator to sign to her that we were there to help and there was nothing to be ashamed about. With that silent tears fell down her cheeks and she let out a soft cry. I immediately had some food delivered. A second volunteer brought food to fill the frig and cabinets.

I wrote down the things I would need to see and the husband collected them all for me. We went over their bills and expenses. They were very happy in their apartment so I wrote down the few minor repairs I knew a volunteer could fix. We had their car towed in for an evaluation and it was able to be fixed. We brought their utilities and rent up to date.

Two weeks later, I visited them again and this time the two seniors looked healthy and happy.

I thanked their friend the translator for bringing these wonderful fellow Americans to our attention. I thank all of you for Caring and Sharing. Together, we make a big difference for those in desperate need.

Health and Happiness,

God Bless Everyone,


We are happy to announce we have met The Summertime Foundation $10,000 Matching Grant. We are so grateful for your support in this matching grant opportunity. This will provide $20,000 in assistance to those most in need. Thank You, Thank You to The Summertime Foundation, and all of “You” for caring and sharing for our fellow creations.

Please Help:

Make checks payable to:

The Time Is Now to Help

P.O. Box 70

Pell Lake, WI 53157

The Time Is Now to Help is a federally recognized 501(c)3 charitable organization licensed in the states of Wisconsin and Illinois. You will receive a tax deductible, itemized thank you receipt showing how your donation provided assistance for the poverty stricken.

A Very Special Thank You:

The Summertime Foundation, Fox Charities, The Petco Foundation, Lake Geneva Petco, Kunes’ Country Auto Group, Budget Blinds, Vegter Masonry, E2 Services, ITW Foundation, Christ Lutheran Church, Our Redeemer Lutheran Ladies Aid, Women of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, Briggs and Stratton Power of Giving, Martin Business Group, Katie Alder, Dick and Jean Honeyager, Jay and Karin Hiller, James and Rita Barron, Franklin and Joan Jones, Donald and Mildred Carl, Peter and Gail Nieuwehuis, Larry Kulik, Margarie Egger, Michael and Sally Anne Chier, Penny Schmuck, Carolyn May Essel, Steve Thornton, Richard and Carol Hinners, Clifford and Louise Morris, Walter and Florence Strumpf, W.C. Family Resource Center/Food Pantry volunteers, and all the God loving volunteers of all our caring food pantries, ALL of you who support The Time Is Now to Help donation boxes, and the businesses that allow our donation boxes. Anyone who would like a Time Is Now donation box in your business, please call (262) 249-7000.


John Tierney in memory of Barbara Tierney.

Chris Ann’s Resale Shop:

I will continue to ask Chris Ann’s Resale shop for furniture and household necessities to help our poverty stricken fellow Americans. If you have anything you would like to donate please call (262) 348-9088. They are located at 406 Hwy. 120 North, Lake Geneva, WI, in the old Floor Store building across from the Shell gas station and Next Door Pub. “Look for the American Flag.”

Desperately need cars:

Please donate a used car to help our fellow American’s get to work and other daily necessities.

Please visit: