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Courtesy photo Students with the Navarro Mills Baptist Church stand in front of the trailer home they're working to restore or replace on behalf of a needy family in Purdon. On the far left is social worker Patsy McSpadden and the two sisters, Rosa and Frances, who live in the trailer with their 90-year-old mother, who is a hospice patient.

Associated Press

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NAVARRO COUNTY - Sometimes, a little thing can start an avalanche. In the case of two Purdon-area women who are caring for their mother, it was a simple conversation between a social worker and one of the sisters.

 Patsy McSpadden, a social worker for Hand-in-Hand hospice in Corsicana, had been visiting with the agency’s patient for months when she began talking to Rosa, the patient’s daughter, one day.

The patient, who is in her 90s and is expected to die within the next six months, is unresponsive but is completely cared for by her two daughters, both of whom are in their late 60s. The three women live together in a single-wide trailer home which has lost most of its protective exterior siding and insulation.

“Their house burned five years ago, and their mobile home fell apart, and someone gave them this used one, and now it’s falling apart,” McSpadden explained.

In that crucial conversation, the sisters told McSpadden they were going to try to take the siding off the older, abandoned trailer and put it on the current one in order to give their home more protection during the winter.

Spurred by their situation, McSpadden called local charities to try to find help but ran up against obstacles until she turned to the Navarro Mills Baptist Church. Their youth group agreed to take on the women’s home as a mission effort.

“If you drove by it you’d never think anybody was living in that (home), much less that they were taking care of their sick mother in there,” said Steve Burleson, youth minister at Navarro Mills Baptist. “They’re exposed to all the elements over there.”

The students were shown photos of the trailer home, and then they went to the house where they met the women, had a picnic lunch and did some clean-up work around the house.

“Their reaction was ‘this is the right thing to do,’” Burleson said. “Some of these kids are from living conditions that aren’t much better. They can really relate.”

“It’s not pity. It’s what Christ tells us what to do. One of the girls said ‘I can’t imagine my grandmother living like this.’”

Helping lead the fund-raising efforts is Steve’s wife, Sharon Burleson, who helped coordinate three bake sales, Scentsy sales, and a Christmas concert and silent auction on Dec. 2 titled “Christmas Celebration.”

“No doubt, God is in this and already working,” Sharon Burleson said.

Their big fundraiser will be at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 2 at Martin’s Music Hall. Performers will be the Sullivan Family Singers, Cedar Creek Life Band and some local acts. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students and children. A silent auction featuring Christmas gifts will be held in conjunction with the concert.

For the sisters, they want their mother to be warm and comfortable, but there’s also something they’d like for themselves — a room for themselves.

“The sisters have slept together for five years because there are only two bedrooms and their mother had to have her own,” McSpadden said. “They’re wonderful people but they’d love to have their own rooms.”


Janet Jacobs may be reached by email at jacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com

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