Community Watch Coordinator
Posted on August 27 2015
In 2010 the crime rate in our neighborhood grew by leaps and bounds. We were having property damage and break ins during broad daylight. Residents were coming home to find that someone had come through the back of the house and gained entry by busting a window and robbing the residents of all of their valuables. People were scared to even go to work. Most residents in this neighborhood are on a fixed income and therefore could not afford to pay a monthly security system bill. I decided it was time to get with the Sheriff's department and find out what we, as residents could do to help our local law enforcement officers in decreasing if not ending the crime spree that was occurring in our area. At that time I was put in contact with their Community Watch Coordinator who walked me through the process and met with me often. Resident meetings were then scheduled and the Deputy in charge of Community Watch Programs attended those meetings to address key issues. In 2013 I was diagnosed with Parkinson's and had to turn my position as Coordinator over to another Community Watch Block Captain. Finally, after 2 years, and my Mental Health Therapist, my Primary Care Physician and Neurologist all came together and started working with one another to ensure I was getting the best possible care and treatment available. So in 2015 my medications has my Parkinson's almost fully controlled and I was able to regain the position of Community Watch Coordinator. Before I went back to being the Coordinator,and getting my medications straightened out, I was what many would call a recluse. I wouldn't leave the house unless it was to get the mail and go to my doctors appointments. I wouldn't associate with others as I was afraid that my slurring would start, the drooling. I couldn't sit and have a glass of tea or anything as I had to use a straw so that I would not dribble my drink down onto my clothes. It is now because of the medications working and the friendships I have made with many of the residence I can say that I am truly blessed to have symptoms under control and a large support system that consists of family, friends and neighbors. These people gave me the strength and courage to get out of my safety zone and experience life again. I even worked diligently on getting our county a Parkinson's support group as there was no information, no hands on support groups or resources available for those in my county that have Parkinson's. I took my story to the local newspaper and they did a full page article on my story and within a few days our local Home Health and Hospice decided to take a big leap of faith and begin a Parkinson's Support group that grows in numbers sometimes weekly. I also became an Assistant State Director with the Parkinson's Action Network to help bring public awareness to our community and worked closely with the head person at Home Health and Hospice by supplying them with some of my materials and my story in an attempt to get this support group off the ground. Now unfortunately, I can only drive a limited amount of time before I start to fall asleep at the wheel and the support group is somewhat out of my range unless I don't take my medications that morning and afternoon as the group begins at 2pm and I normally take my meds around 1:30-2:00 so it saddens me that something I poured my heart and soul into to ensure that other's going through what I am going through, had a place to go and meet once a month for now to learn and get more information on their disease and I have to miss out unless I have a ride, which my husband works and can't take off as he has conference calls during that particular day of the week at the time of the day, my daughter just began a full time job and my sister lives at the opposite side of town and I hate to burden her with the drive. I still continue to do what I can to bring public awareness to our community about Parkinson's and write letters to our Senators and Congress when the need arises to get their support on Bills needing to be passed and to prevent medical benefits being taken away or limited. I educated my family on Parkinson's as they had no idea of what I was really going through and when we would miss a family function it caused a riff amongst my husband and the family so I wrote them all a letter explaining what Parkinson's was and what affects it had on me on a daily basis. I even ordered family members, and paid for, t-shirts that would either say I support my sister, my Aunt, my friend, my daughter-in-law, etc. so that they would wear them and show support for me as well as bring more public awareness because people would stop them and ask them about their shirts. It took me awhile to get to where I am today but try to play an active and key role amongst our residence in the Community Watch Program and take their calls and file their reports for them as many are very leery of making any reports. I do still have my bad days, but nearly as many as I did in the past and this allows me to get out and socialize with neighbors and ensure their needs are being met. I have had a few reports in the last few weeks that were beyond my scope of knowledge and made phone calls to NCIS on one such report and had to update residence when one of our own, who suffers from PTSD, lost control and ran the street carrying an assault rifle with him threatening to kill himself. I contacted those neighbors or residents in the affected area to stay inside their homes until the situation was under control. It was a God send that with as many deputies that converged upon this block and the Marines home, that everything ended peacefully, however, I felt the affects for the rest of the night as stress seems to set my symptoms off full blown, but to me, the needs of the few, being me, outweighed the needs of the many. I continue to struggle now with a new symptom which is my vision. That is my greatest fear is losing the ability to see as I have two beautiful granddaughters and my lovely daughter and my very supportive husband who is my rock. I do not want to ever lose my independence or become a burden on any of my family or friends but I fear that in the near future my life is going to change again and I will continue to fight to maintain my independence and lifted spirits but sometimes fear tends to take over.