Volunteer: Senior citizens network needs volunteers

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Cutline: Alton Batey, 88, of Smyrna shares a laugh with coordinators Clarence and E.T. Guice of the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office's Senior Citizens Awareness Network

Retired farm worker Alton Batey watches the world pass by from the front porch of the Lee Road home near Smyrna where he's lived all 88 years of his life.

His face lights up when he receives a visit from Clarence and E.T. Guice of Rutherford County Sheriff's Office's Senior Citizens Awareness Network. He can see better now because they brought him a pair of reading glasses he wears all the time.

Knowing that he doesn't get a home-cooked food very often, E.T. Guice delivers meals for two days, including cornbread.

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"I told her I didn't mind being in jail if she'd do the cooking," Batey joked.

The Guices and other SCAN volunteers regularly visit 63 senior citizens like Batey, most who live alone in Rutherford County. SCAN volunteers check on the seniors' well-being, ensure they have enough food and make sure they live in safe conditions.

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School Resource Officer John Acton and Detective Patty Hillis suggested forming SCAN when they found a senior citizen living in an unsafe home. In 2011, Sheriff Robert Arnold initiated the SCAN program.

Sheriff Arnold said volunteers drive an old patrol cruiser marked with SCAN and the volunteers wear a SCAN-designated shirt. The remainder of the program operates on donations such as a grant provided by the Murfreesboro Breakfast Rotary Club.

"We are indebted to the SCAN volunteers who tirelessly give so much of their time to improve the lives of our senior citizens," Sheriff Arnold said. "SCAN volunteers let the seniors know they are not forgotten."

SCAN works with contractors and other volunteers to provide better living conditions for the seniors, many of whom don't have family members to help.

Batey, who never married, lives alone.

"I don't want a boss," Batey said for his reason for never marrying.

His neighbors check on him regularly. A niece or nephew takes him for groceries and doctor's appointments and he receives one meal each week from a Smyrna church.

"It's real good," he said of people checking on his welfare.

He doesn't have an air conditioner but relies on fans to cool him during the summer heat. Clarence Guice moved the fan so he could get air while he sat on the porch.

"We don't want to spoil you," Clarence Guice told Batey. "We want to make you comfortable."

SCAN volunteers deliver food for seniors from Greenhouse Ministries, Springhouse Worship in Smyrna and Comfort Ye from Heartland Baptist Church. The volunteers solicit appliances from retailers, convince home builders and repair workers to install grab bars and replace flooring. They register senior for services such as Meals on Wheels.

"That's what the program is about," Clarence Guice said.

E.T. Guice is concerned about Batey's safety. She asked about his feet. He shuffles when he walks. Another pair of shoes seems to help.

As the Guices prepare to leave, Batey settles on the porch.

"If you need anything, you know who to call," Clarence Guice said.

SCAN volunteers are tasked to resolve wide ranges of problems. They are trying to obtain donations of lumber to replace a couple's floor with holes, causing a dangerous situation. Members of Global Accord volunteered to do the labor but the couple cannot afford the supplies.

In another case, a veteran needs someone to stay with his wife with Alzheimer's disease while he goes to the Veterans Administration for medical care.

The SCAN program needs more volunteers to help the needs of senior citizens. If interested, please call the SCAN volunteer line at 615-904-3139 and leave a message.

Source:

Lisa Marchesoni

Public information officer

Rutherford County Sheriff's Office

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Murfreesboro, Rutherford County, SCAN, Sheriff, TN, volunteer
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