Tyler Outdoor Advertising, Rebuilding Together OKC, and Drabek & Hill Inc. give away a Heat and Air Unit to deserving homeowner and mother, Betty Jo Hawkins-Emery
The walls of Betty’s home are filled with pictures, pictures of children proudly displayed. She lives in the home she grew up in with nine brother and sisters. After her parents became unable to take care of the home, Betty purchased it from them; she wanted to keep it in the family. “I was used to seeing our home filled with children, it just wasn’t happy without the sounds of kids filling every room.” Betty and her late husband, Theodore Emery, fostered 17 children; a picture of each of them still remains in the living room. Theodore and Betty strongly valued keeping sibling groups together and insisted on taking in all the siblings of a family. Over the years, they fostered the children of 10 families. Many of the children aged out of foster care in their home, while some were reunited with their families. Brandon, “Theodore’s favorite” as Betty says, will call Betty’s home his home forever. After Theodore passed, Betty adopted Brandon. Brandon is a happy 7 years old boy who has a Down Syndrome. “I expect him to go to college and not be paid substandard wage and have a family,” says Betty. Brandon makes sure that Brandon has the opportunity to work with occupational therapists and speech pathologists. Brandon attends an integrated day care with special needs children and typically developing children. “Brandon learns from the other children and has fun,” Betty says. Betty has always had a heart for children. She believes every child deserves a parent. Most of our time with Betty was spent talking about her individual foster children and Brandon. Betty finally said, “I guess you want to hear about me, too!” and laughed.
Betty is an Army Veteran. She retired in 2012, after 38 years of service. She served many roles in the Army, as she says she started at the bottom and worked her way up. Through training in the Army, Betty became a Licensed Practical Nurse. She served time as a surgical nurse, floor nurse, and later, became a school nurse at an alternative school Seeworth Academy. Betty says she still sees her students from Seeworth around town and she is proud of them and how far they’ve come.
Betty’s home is 89 years old. She says it has remained in good shape until recent years due to earthquakes and the weathering of time. The floor has started to crack and buckle, the ceiling has started to sag. On the coldest day of winter, Betty’s heat stopped working. She called a local company who discovered that Betty’s home had gas leaks and was not energy efficient. The company recommended she call Rebuilding Together OKC. The medical bills that followed her husband’s death and caring for the needs of a 7 year old have left Betty financially unable to repairs her heating system or make other home repairs.
Rebuilding Together OKC is working with Betty to make other home repairs and safety modifications. Thanks to Tyler Outdoor Advertising, the heat system courtesy of Drabek & Hill, and repairs made by community companies and volunteers, Betty and Brandon are safe, warm and dry in their home.
Betty is currently in school, pursuing a second degree in Healthcare Administration. Betty wants to better educate herself so she can provide for Brandon. Betty says her purpose from God at this time to take care of Brandon to the best of her ability. Betty hopes to work in a skilled nursing facility and help people get back home. Betty says, “People spend a lifetime in their homes, working to pay for it. A nursing home is not a place to die. People want to be at home so they can comfortably meet Jesus asleep in their beds.” We could not agree more with Betty. Rebuilding Together OKC works to make sure our homeowners can “age in place”.
Thank you to Tyler Outdoor Advertising and Drabek & Hill Inc, for making this possible for Betty and Brandon.
Together we can rebuild lives and neighborhoods.