Liberated by the U.M. ARMY
By: Sherri Gragg
For the past two years, Wonda Corcoran’s world has narrowed with each breath she has taken. Corcoran suffers from COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Each day, COPD has stolen a little more of her breath, and another slice of her independence. As the disease progressed and Corcoran was no longer able to climb the steps to her front door, she became virtually homebound. Outings with friends gradually gave way to doctor’s appointments which demanded someone carry her down the steps of her home. Shopping trips to Walmart were replaced by visits from home health and insurance nurses.
Until the U.M. ARMY came to town.
Love in Their Eyes
One day in mid-May, Wonda and her husband, Buddy, sat and watched from their window as truckloads of students from throughout the Texas Conference armed with saws, drills, and hammers, determined to liberate the elderly couple from the clutches of Wonda’s disability.
“My husband and I still talk about those young people,” Wonda said. “It was amazing to watch those kids. You could see the love in their eyes when they talked to each other. It warmed your heart to be around them.”
The Rev. Dr. Sunny Farley, Campus Minister at Tyler Junior College and Wesley House Director, said the students who worked on the Corcoran’s home were filled with joy to have been part of the project. “It is amazing,” she said, “The U.M. ARMY is hard work! These kids are up at 7:00 AM and work straight through the heat of the day. It is exhausting, but they are so delighted to do it.”
The moment Wonda first drove her wheelchair down the completed ramp was pure joy. “They told me my face lit up like a candle,” she said. “It was awesome.”
The Corcorans wasted no time making a long-awaited independent trip to Walmart. When they arrived, they found a surprise waiting for them. Walmart welcomed them back with a $50.00 gift card. “We were there for awhile,” Wonda said.
Farley and the U.M. ARMY feel honored to have been part of God’s gracious love to the Corcoran family. “So often we lose sight of how basic our faith really is,” Farley said. “We get bogged down in the issues, but basic human needs are still out there. When we can be part of God's ministry and mission in this world, it is lifechanging. It is the most brilliant reminder of who we are as Christians, and what we are supposed to be doing as Christians.”