Written by Isabelle Vander Stoep / email@example.com
During the holiday season, the Lewis Mason Thurston Area Aging Agency offers a wish list for seniors and clients with disabilities.
Traditionally, donors shop for items on a wish list and send them in a package. This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the agency is requesting cash donations through PayPal or by mail instead. Customer wish items are still listed this year so donors know where their money is going.
“We know many of you are loyal supporters who enjoy shopping for your chosen clients. But we hope you find the joy of giving through your thoughtful donation,” said Marla Lund, of the agency.
For many clients who will spend their holidays alone, receiving a gift through a wish list has indescribable meaning.
Such is the case for Charles Tibbett, Jr., 61, who was a first responder at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. He lives in a trusted location, where housing is provided by trusted nonprofits for low-cost institutions. income and disabled.
Tippett will be spending the vacation alone. For him, the idea that a stranger would do everything in his power to improve his life was the most precious gift. Getting a new vacuum wouldn’t be bad either.
Over the weekend, Tibbett spent four hours talking to The Chronicle about his life. His story, though greatly reduced in size for this article, proves the area agency’s value on the annual Aging Wish List. There will always be wonderful strangers and heroes in society who will remain strangers, but spreading joy through a selfless gift is one way to extend love to them.
Memories of Tibet from early childhood are filled with country music. His parents were very talented musicians and had very famous friends. Every Friday and Saturday night, the living room of his family’s Portland home filled with cigarette smoke, a steel guitar, and his father’s angelic voice.
Notable guests included Willie Nelson, Buck Owens, and Loretta Lynn. And one night a man in a black suit came, and his voice was deeply rattling. Little Charles ran to the door.
“He looked at me and I went, ‘Hey,'” Tibbett said, ‘Hey, I’m Johnny Cash.’
Looking at these memories, Tibet began to choke. They were fleeting as they were beautiful.
His mother’s health – along with the health of his parents’ relationship – was deteriorating. She was either sleeping days or waking days.
“She was bipolar. But at the time, they knew nothing. Back in the ’60s, I was either ‘sane’ or ‘crazy,'” Tibet said. Then I grew up and married my mother again.”
At first, Tibet and his brother Jack had a good relationship with their new stepfather, with gifts of antique toy cars. But one day around the sixth grade, something about his stepfather seemed to change when he became abusive.
Shocks and championship
Once, Tippett’s stepfather threw into the back wall first. The effects of that injury had a lifelong impact, eventually culminating in daily pain and current disabling status.
With the help of sisters Crystal and Gloria, Tibbett said he escaped his rough home life in high school.
At the age of 16, he became one of the youngest volunteer firefighters in Oregon history. The minimum age at the time was 17, but the fire chief agreed to look the other way because of Tippett and moxie’s strength. After serving in the US Army at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, he made his way to New York City for his firefighting work and became a lieutenant.
September 11, 2001 was his day off. That morning, when the first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center, his phone was ringing. He made his way to a fire station in lower Manhattan near the towers.
He arrives at a scene he now describes as post-apocalyptic.
“Next thing you know, you hear that awful rumble, and here comes the North Tower,” said Tibbett. “I ran in and out the firefighters and got them in because they were running toward the tower. I said to them, ‘Get in here, get in here now.’”
As the street filled with smoke and debris, the air around the house turned pitch black. With masks and helmets on, he and the other responders were instructed to shout for people who would carry them inside.
“You could see all the dust and the blackness around their faces. And you could see it in her mouth. And they were suffocating,” Tibet said. “They would say to me, ‘Tell my wife I love her, tell my daughter I love her.’ And I’d say, ‘Excuse my language, but damn, I don’t want to hear this.’ … you will see your wife. You will tell your wife and daughter that you love them. Because they cry and die. I had them in my arms and they have them there. I could see life starting to disappear from their eyes.”
His heroism that day led to Tibet developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). His mental health only worsened due to the murder of his brother Jack and the later death of his wife Tina.
Of three marriages, Tibet said she was the love of his life.
Tina suffered an inexplicable health event that led to her death just four months after their marriage.
Coming to Centralia
Tippet first arrived at Centralia at Chevron on Mellen Street by Greyhound Bus in 2010. Crystal lived in the area with a motorcyclist nicknamed “Too-Tall.”
Things with Crystal and Too-Tall went south, and Tippett ended up homeless for a while. With the Office of Veterans Affairs, a great deal of Medicare on his back, trusted institutions and adult protection services, Tibet now lives a quiet life in his ground floor apartment.
Through the District Agency on Aging, he has a Catholic Community Services provider who comes in three times a week for just $9 a month.
The first time he got a gift through the agency’s wish list, it was a blank.
“I just exploded because (who) I’ve never met before,” he said. “No one has done anything like this for me before.”
This year, he hopes to replace the vacuum that no longer keeps his apartment sufficiently dust-free.
Tibet’s greatest joy in life is his daughter, Jacqueline, who lives in Utah. It was named after his late brother. He last saw her in August, but his trip was interrupted when he sustained a spiral fracture in his right leg.
The thought of spending the holidays without Jacqueline, the last member of his family attached to him, made him cry.
“She texts me a merry Christmas and says she loves me, but it’s so far away. But she always tells me. When I say ‘I have enough money to come and stay, I’m coming to visit’, I am overjoyed. I can’t wait to see you, Dad,” she said. “If you take a look at her and she looks at me, you can tell me she is my daughter.”
Choose a customer from the list and send donations via PayPal at www.lmtaaa.org/light-of-hope or mail a check to LMTAAA 2404 Heritage Ct. SW, Olympia, WA, 98502. Include the customer number. Donations are tax deductible and will be accepted until December 16th.
For questions, call Lund at 360-748-2524 ext 201.
Customer No. 1 She is 41 years old and has mobility challenges. She has a low income and rents more than half of it. Her request is that she can buy shampoo, toilet paper, body lotion, baby powder, ankle socks, and a space heater for her bedroom. It thanks donors in advance.
Customer No. 2 She is 60 years old and has been living alone recently. She has many chronic health conditions and will appreciate household items such as toilet paper, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, and cleaning supplies. If possible, she would greatly appreciate the items to have for the holiday meal.
Customer No. 3 She is 80 years old and has several serious medical problems. She lives with her disabled son. Both have very limited income. Her request is to help provide paper towels, toilet paper, a housecoat/nightgown, a full-size quilt for her bed and a holiday meal to enjoy this season.
Customer No. 4 She is a 70-year-old woman who lives with her husband in a low-income apartment. By the end of the month, the couple is having trouble getting cat litter and food for their beloved cat. Pet odor has also become a problem. They would like help buying deodorant cat litter, bleach, baking soda and stabilizers for their holiday meal.
Customer No. 5 He is 61 years old, lives alone and struggles with daily pain and emotional challenges. I recently broke his vacuum cleaner and would like to have it replaced. He asked to convey his thanks.
Customer No. 6 She is a woman in her early fifties with heart and breathing problems. She recently lost her longtime partner and her two cats. Fortunately, her neighborhood cat recently adopted her. She would like to restock her wardrobe with laundry soap, paper towels, and toilet paper. She also loves getting more cat litter and cat food.
Customer No. 7 A 72-year-old woman who recently had a serious health event made her less able to continue her volunteer work. This holiday season, you’ll appreciate her help with the purchase of socks, a bathrobe, and pajamas.
Customer No. 8 She is a woman in her mid-eighties. For decades, she lived with the long-term effects of a very serious accident. She wants basic household items, such as laundry soap, paper towels, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies. Her dog made a special request for a toy and food.
Customer No. 9 He is in his late seventies and lives alone. He has many physical health challenges including his vision. His wish is a new vacuum cleaner and warm socks.
Customer No. 10 She is in her early 80s and continues to volunteer at her church. She also enjoys spending time knitting hats and scarves for those who need them for the winter. Her request is for more yarn and knitting supplies to continue helping others with her crafts.
Customer No. 11 He is an older man with several chronic health conditions. His sister and children live with him, and he is grateful for their help to stay in his house. He can use fresh bed linen and towels.
Customer No. 12 She suffers from an incurable brain tumor that has affected her eyesight and balance. She works hard to maintain a positive attitude. Their limited income often runs out before the end of the month, as are the incontinence treatment supplies. She will be grateful to help buy supplies and cat food. It thanks donors in advance.
Customer No. 13 She is a woman who has been suffering from a nervous system disorder caused by a drug reaction for decades. She has little left after paying the rent. Her comforters are old and thin because of the many washings, like many of her clothes. Will be grateful to help provide new items.
Customer No. 14 He is a veteran dealing with severe health and mood issues. Also, in the last year he has lost his vision and a lot of his independence. He is a very extroverted person and misses the social interaction he used to have. He would like to share the fixings of his holiday meal with a few friends.
Customer No. 15 A gentleman in his late sixties with limited mobility. His constant companions are his cats. His desire to help is to get veterinary services for checkups, vaccinations and delayed flea treatment. His cats are grateful, in a reclusive way.
Customer No. 16 She is a woman in her early 60s who changed her clothing sizes and would like a gift card to buy items that better match her vitamins.
Customer No. 17 She is in her mid-seventies and lives with her beloved cat at home with some support. Order it for cat items like cat litter and food. But of course, not just any food. Her cat has a clear preference for canned foods that contain “a lot of broth”.
Customer No. 18 She is a woman in her early fifties who had health setbacks last year. She now needs more care at home. She is grateful that her health still allows her to be able to draw. She will be grateful to receive more acrylic paint and canvas.
Customer No. 19 She is in her early 70s and takes care of herself as much as possible, even with health issues. Her wish is to simply stock up on healthy foods and vitamins. It thanks donors in advance.
Customer No. 20 She is a woman in her mid-sixties with many medical conditions that require support at home but is proud that she still manages most of them on her own. Her wish is slippers with velcro so they stay on her feet better, and sweatpants that are easy to wear and socks for edema.