POCATELLO — H.S. Jeshua Ministries, Inc., is hoping for another miracle.
The private, nonprofit organization that helped Mike Vanderkooi, a local man with multiple sclerosis, get a wheelchair-accessible van six years ago is at it again. This time, H.S. Jeshua Ministries wants to assist Pocatello residents Eddie and Darlene Brown.
“They need a wheelchair-accessible vehicle, and their insurance doesn’t help in this area,” H.S. Jeshua Ministries said in a recent news release. “With the Lord’s guidance and faithfulness, I know we will have another miracle happen right here in Pocatello.”
H.S. Jeshua Ministries focuses on spiritual healing and primarily helps victims of abuse and people who are transitioning out of prison. But Executive Director Merriann Forrest believes it’s important to help others in need as well.
“I’ve been in a place of great need before and the Lord has always blessed me and put (people in my) path who could make a difference and bring hope when I needed to hang on,” said Forrest, who is a sexual abuse and domestic violence survivor herself.
She organized Operation Guardian Angel so people could make donations and partner with H.S. Jeshua Ministries in its efforts to change the lives of not only victims of abuse and those transitioning out of prison, but also other local people in need.
“If you listen carefully, you will hear the rustle of Angel Wings behind you — they’re yours. You can be a Guardian Angel for someone and forever make a difference in their life,” according to the H.S. Jeshua Ministries’s news release.
Forrest hopes people will be willing to serve as guardian angels for the Browns.
Eddie was injured in a severe crash in 1982 and spends the vast majority of his time in a wheelchair, Darlene said. In more recent years, Eddie suffered a stroke that damaged the left side of his body, temporarily took his hearing and required him to spend a couple of months in the hospital.
“That set them behind financially to the point of almost losing their home in December due to $5,000 in back taxes. We launched ‘The Christmas Miracle’ and raised enough money to save their home, pay on some bills and do some much needed repairs in their home,” according to www.hsjeshuaministries.org. “Now we want to meet this need to make their lives a little easier by helping get them a new wheelchair-accessible vehicle.”
Darlene says they currently use a Chevrolet Malibu to get around. But the car isn’t big enough to accommodate an electric wheelchair. Eddie has to use a manual one when they go out and Darlene has to load and unload the wheelchair by herself.
Forrest believes things will only get harder for the aging couple in the future.
“They need a good, reliable wheelchair-accessible vehicle now so they can have that available in the long term,” Forrest said.
H.S. Jeshua Ministries held a yard sale and was able to raise $600 for the vehicle, Forrest said. She’s planning some additional fundraisers in the near future.
In the meantime, people can learn more about the Browns and donate funds to help them by clicking on the “Operation Guardian Angel” link at www.hsjeshuaministries.org.