I've been fortunate to have had the opportunity to rub elbows with Jeff "Smitty" Smith, he of Smitty's Notes fame, on several occasions and I can tell you that he's one of the nicest, most generous people you'll ever meet. Yesterday he received the Duke Energy Citizenship and Service Award at the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting, and I can't think of anyone more deserving.
Congrats to Smitty and if you aren't already I highly recommend you become one of his regular readers.
I remember clearly the day my mother, who was in her 40s at the time, received her first mailing from AARP. Let's just say she was none too pleased to be considered in the geriatric demographic. I thought of that when I read this article about Smitty in Boom! It's a very complimentary article, but being in your 40s and having your profile appear in a regular feature titled "Fifty & Fabulous" has to be a little disconcerting.
Found this at Smitty's Notes and thought it very worthwhile to share:
It's not too often an idea so simple and worthwhile takes a life of its own. In the past few weeks, I've watched something local on Facebook do just that. Many of you may know or seen the elderly homeless woman who rides a pink girl's bike around town. She can be normally found around the Stratford Rd and Peters Creek Parkway area. Often, many refer to her as "Whoopi" because she favors actress Whoopi Goldberg with her looks and long dreadlocks. The lady is Ester Deaver. She is 70 years old, homeless and survived on the streets of Winston-Salem for over thirty years. However, she is known all over town. Deaver has touched many hearts of people who live here or have passed through over the years.
A group of Facebook members have taken an interest in Deaver and created a "Where's Whoopi" group page. The purpose is to keep track of her around town. Since being started last month, the page has quickly grown to close to 6,000 fans. Yvonne Rorrer, a lifelong Winston-Salem citizen, is the group page owner who has taken an interest in befriending Ms. Deaver, and helping with her well being. So much, she has been able to have donated some medical care and made sure Deaver has made it to appointments. Much has come of this friendship that Deaver has asked for one thing. To get her "bus" back. Apparently, Deaver use to own a yellow conversion van years ago. It was "decommissioned" by the city for various reasons which is why she is riding her pink bicycle. Rorrer has set up the Ester Smiles Foundation to help Deaver get a used "bus" that will help transport her get around town and have a safe place to lay her head. They hope to have it for her 71st birthday on June 9, 2010. The goal is to raise $10,000. The Foundation has applied for 501 (c) (3) status and over $1,500 already been donated. Monies raised will go toward the van, it's future upkeep and supporting the homeless senior citizen community in Winston-Salem.
You can get more info at Smitty's place, and/or visit the following Facebook pages:
Esther Smiles Foundation