Ted is a 74-year-old US Air Force veteran.
Recently, we visited with Ted, an Elder participating in the Breakfast-in-a-Bag service through PWNA’s Northern Plains Reservation Aid program.
Ted spoke frequently of his takojas (grandchildren) and it’s clear from the unbridled smile he took great pride in his duties as grandfather, and like many, relished each opportunity to spoil them.
Marvine, our Program Partner helping to ensure eligible Elders receive their Breakfast-in-a-Bag on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, met with our staff during the May “BnB” distribution. She had arranged for us to deliver groceries to Ted, and according to him, a three- to four-year recipient of the service.
Ted only lived a few miles down the road from the store but didn’t have a car. So, he called his family members for rides or even walked the few miles to get his groceries. Ted lived off the two-lane highway that connected the sparsely populated reservation as far east to Milwaukee, WI and as far west to Wyoming. A heavily traveled road, it connected over 400 Elders to their Breakfast-in-a-Bag grocery store.
Our staff met Ted outside his single-wide trailer to enjoy the summer weather. A 74-year-old Air Force veteran, Ted was on a fixed income and appreciated the budget relief the groceries bring to his pocketbook. Ted talked enthusiastically about the good things he saw happening around his home.
Ted talked enthusiastically about the good things he saw happening around his home.
The Elders really appreciated the good work that Marvine was doing in the community. Ted explained, “I like what they’re doing here, I lived out here in the winter time and it’s hard to get back and forth and they get us these meal packages so they deliver them. I like the program because it helps us Elders… we live on what we get the whole rez that’s how we live but your program it not only helps us, it helps everyone the young ones and everybody—it’s good and I hope you continue it.”
Ted considered himself healthy but had undergone angioplasty to correct blocked blood vessels in his heart. The only other health issue was his vision. Although his bad eyesight kept him from driving, he could call for a ride from one of his kids. They were usually able to pick him up to get him into town.
Interestingly, Ted almost sounded thankful that he wasn’t behind the wheel anymore. His home was situated where he had a view of the lush green prairies but was also in earshot of the highway. This offered up an unfortunate vantage point to highway car accidents. He added, “Yesterday, there was a three-car wreck on the highway — a lot of the out of state trucks coming through go pretty fast and that causes a lot of wrecks.”
Some of his military friends were still alive and Ted saw them around “mostly at roll call,” he said. He was a neighbor to another Rosebud veteran, Jesse Clairmont, a longtime Program Partner, friend and Breakfast-in-a-Bag volunteer; Jesse passed away in May of 2015. Ted ruminated that, “A lot of my friends are gone.” This loss included a four-legged dog named Coco, a chocolate lab rescue, who “went to the other side” after 17 years. Ted shared many fond memories of Coco and thought that he may be ready for another rescue soon. So, we referred him to our friend, Sherry with Borders without Boundaries Rescue, through PWNA’s other program, Reservation Animal Rescue. Sherry promised to keep a look out for a special friend for Ted.
Ted appreciated the items that the Breakfast-in-a-Bag service offered because when his takojas came to visit, they headed straight for the cereal! Ted would like a garden so that he can teach his grandkids to grow food. He added, “I tell (the grandchildren) when they are here I just spoil them. Their mom and dad get mad at me but when they come out to grandpa’s — the world belongs to them.”