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Woman gets gift of independence with just a little help from a friend

Photo source: WEAR-TV

Frankie Preyear wanted to stay in her own house. "My family doesn't like the idea of me being here by myself because sometimes I forget to turn the stove off."

Etta Smith was still grieving the loss of her husband. "In 2009, my husband passed away and so, I was just sitting around the house, you know, feeling sorry for myself."

Preyear, 88, needed a little help. Smith, 82, needed purpose to her life. For the Council on Aging of Northwest Florida, this was a perfect match. They assigned Miss Etta to be a senior companion to Miss Frankie.

Miss Etta Smith remembers the day they met. "When I came in the door, she had her arms wide open. She wanted a hug. And she was sitting right along here. And so I came and we hugged and everything and it's just been fun every since."

Along with making sure the stove is turned off, Miss Etta takes Miss Frankie to doctors' appointments, the grocery store and wherever she needs to go. She just keeps a little watchful eye on things. Miss Frankie said she's the sister she never had. "She says, 'Is it time for you to take your medicine? You know you didn't get that medicine on time. Tomorrow you've got to get that medicine on time"'

And these are some busy ladies. They keep something going on. A retired educator of 30 years, Miss Frankie is still teaching. She loves sharing her many talents with Miss Etta.

"She has taught me how to do jewelry," said Miss Etta.

Miss Frankie reflects, "We make quilts."

Miss Etta said, "She has taught me how to make corsages."

Miss Frankie said, "We embroidery,"

Miss Etta, "She has taught me how to garden."

Both ladies will tell you that the greatest thing they share is their faith. You're apt to walk in on a bible lesson or a prayer session anytime you visit. Miss Frankie knows it was a higher power that brought them together. "Every good and perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the Father and He sent me Mrs. Smith." As for Miss Etta, she feels she's getting more from this companionship than she gives. "I could be home sitting down somewhere; still feeling sorry for myself and all. But, every day I can get up and come here and we can laugh, we can talk, we can pray together and we can just do things."

So, Miss Etta has renewed purpose to her life and Miss Frankie can still live on her own thanks to divine intervention and with just a little help from her friend. "We are perfect, perfect for each other."

Angels In Our Midst is sponsored by the Studer Family Children's Hospital at Sacred Heart.

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