Good Samaritans are still among us

Olivia Fowler

Olivia Fowler

On the Way

By Olivia Fowler

My beloved cousin Gwynne in Tennessee has the most loving and generous spirit of anyone I know. She is a sucker for any sob story, is active in animal rescue, volunteers in an organization to help troubled teens and is the first person in town to call if someone needs help.

For many years she taught first grade and kept at it so long she ended up teaching children of former students. She retired last year but is teaching part-time this year, sharing a class with another teacher. They split the week, and she loves it.

She’ll go to bat for a child when necessary and will stand up when it matters.

A few years ago she was teaching English as a second language to a class containing several families. Among her students was a young mother with a 6-year-old child, a boy, both working to master the language. Unfortunately, one evening after class, they were crossing the street from the school when the mother was killed by a hit-and-run driver. The little boy wasn’t seriously injured but witnessed his mother’s death.

The other members of the child’s family were in Mexico, and he was alone. Gwynne took him home and cared for him. She found an attorney willing to represent the child non gratis. When the hit-and-run driver was finally found, the attorney sued on the child’s behalf and won financial security for the child. During all this period of time he lived with Gwynne.

The settlement is in a trust and made it possible for the child to return to Mexico to be cared for by his grandparents. He has also been able to continue his education and have other needs met.

Gwynne doesn’t think there’s anything especial about her actions. She thinks it’s what anyone would do.

As Grandmama used to say, “There are two kinds of people in the world — the givers and the takers.” Gwynne is one of the givers.

What makes a person do these things? In my opinion it is born in them.

When we were children she had 13 cats. She had birth certificates and health records for all of them carefully printed out on index cards. They were all named and loved.

From childhood on, Gwynne untiringly took care of any human or animal that came her way, always improving their situations if at all possible. It’s as though she graduated from a school run by St. Francis. The world has been a better place with her in it. I hope to be more like her when I grow up.