WEST JEFFERSON-A little kindness is never in short supply in the High Country.
Ashe County’s men, women – and even its children – have proven time and time again that they’re willing to take care of people they’ve never met who have fallen on hard times. Look no further than the community’s response to wide spread flooding in eastern North Carolina and the fires that ravaged Gatlinburg, TN last fall as evidence.
But this community is also willing to show compassion for people who sometimes struggle with the trials of the day-to-day world. Local food pantries continue to come up with solutions to get nourishment to locals who need it the most, for instance.
A local veteran was most recently on the receiving end of that community outpouring.
West Jefferson’s Jack Henderson, who Bob Daddio said is a World War II veteran, recently received a new walk-up ramp and a special lift chair recliner with the help of the community.
“I’m just amazed at the way people are willing to help, give of themselves,” Daddio said in a recent interview with the Jefferson Post.
Daddio said he first met Henderson three or four months ago, during a Meals on Wheels delivery.
“He’s just the nicest guy,” Daddio said. “We make it a point to stop and try and talk to him.”
Daddio said he and Larry Clark quickly realized Henderson was having trouble getting up and down the steep steps leading into his Von Turner Road home, so the pair decided building a ramp was in order.
“Larry and his wife donated all the lumber and materials and along with my wife we put together the ramp over a couple of afternoons,” Daddio said. “Just took a little bit of time and effort but you could see how excited Jack was, and that’s worth everything.”
But that wasn’t the end of it.
Daddio and company also helped track down a special lift chair recliner for Henderson that will help the aging veteran sit and stand with less effort.
For that, they turned to Ashe Co. in the Know, a local Facebook page with thousands of users.
“I’d never really used it,” Daddio said. “But we wanted to put out this call to see if anybody would be willing to donate to help a man who served our country and man, in no time, we got a response from someone who said they’d love to help out a World War II veteran.”
That person turned out to be Sheyna Pope Widener, who Daddio said had been attempting to sell just such a lift chair.
“She told us her mother and father had gotten a new one and didn’t need this one anymore,” Daddio said. “In short order she offered to donate this one and that’s how it all came about. It was incredible to see how fast it all come together.”
With the help of a pickup truck, the chair is now being enjoyed by Henderson in his living room.
“I can’t tell y’all how much we were blessed to give to him,” Widener wrote on Ashe Co. in the Know. “Such an honor to bless a WWII veteran after all he’s done for our country. God is good!”
Others, like Timothy Gray, chimed in on Facebook to offer their thoughts.
“This is why I love living here,” Gray wrote. “So many great people who will give the shirt off of their backs to help fellow neighbors.”
For his part, Daddio said it’s the least he and his friends and family could do for Henderson.
“Jack kept saying he couldn’t believe we were doing this for him,” Daddio said. “For us, I mean this was the least we could do for a man who served our country.”
Reach Adam Orr at 336-489-3058.