Originally Published: November 15, 2016 3:47 a.m.
Jim and Betty Powers live in the shadow of Prescott’s iconic Thumb Butte, in the same home they first occupied when they moved here from suburban Los Angeles 28 years ago.
Betty says she knew the place was for her on first sight. Jim, who has a life-long passion for the outdoors, continues to walk most mornings to the base of “their” mountain.
But as much as they love it, “we couldn’t stay in this house if it weren’t for People Who Care,” adds Betty, who suffers from peripheral neuropathy. (Husband Jim is legally blind.) “We don’t know what we would do without it.”
People Who Care is a non-profit, tax deductible organization that provides assistance to adults who are unable to drive due to physical limitations.
Enrolled client “neighbors” receive non-medical assistance from volunteers who help residents in the communities where they live – Chino Valley, Prescott, Prescott Valley and Dewey. The service allows clients to remain in their homes when they might otherwise be forced to move into some type of assisted living.
People Who Care volunteers enjoy the personal connection and insight into the lives of people like Betty, age 93, and Jim, age 87.
A native of Berkeley, California, who attended San Jose State studying psychiatry and pediatrics, Betty made her career as an occupational therapist, including a post-retirement stint at the Veterans’ Administration in Prescott. She has three adopted children, two part Aleut and one part Chinese, from before she met Jim. They all still live with their families in California.
Jim, originally from Tampa, Florida, was a bachelor until he married Betty “41 or 42 years ago.” He was a banker Monday through Friday and a mountaineer on weekends, teaching more than 2,000 students in the skill as a Sierra Club instructor. He was managing a Sierra Club ski hut on California’s Mount Baldy and Betty was hiking in the area when they met.
“He invited me to come up and help him make a gourmet meal,” Betty says with a laugh.
Due to their physical problems, the Powers’ had to sell their cars about five years ago and have relied on friends, neighbors, and People Who Care ever since.
Volunteer Carol has been taking Betty on therapeutic weekly walks during that entire time. “She tells us about her life and what she does,” says Betty, who describes Carol as a friend.
Volunteer Mary takes Jim to do the couple’s grocery shopping every other week. (He also does the cooking.)
They also use People Who Care volunteers when they need transportation to doctors’ offices or other appointments. “They are so reliable and considerate,” Betty says of the volunteers.
For more information on volunteer opportunities, please call 928-445-2480.