More than a Guardian. They’re like Brothers.
When Terry met Billy for the first time, it seemed as if they had known each other for years.
“What connected me with Billy was that he was very easy to talk with,” explains Terry. “We have a lot of the same interests, and we were on the same page.”
“We like the same sports teams,” says Billy as he goes on to talk about his love for the Ohio State Buckeyes and Cleveland Indians.
Terry is Billy’s volunteer guardian through the Catholic Charities Adult Advocacy Program. The program assigns volunteers to serve as legal guardians for adults who are unable to take care of themselves.
“I was approached by an employee at Catholic Charities about the need for more male guardians in the program,” Terry says. “After I took some time to think about it, I thought it would be an interesting program to take part in.”
Terry has been Billy’s guardian for over 10 years, and the two have grown exceptionally close. Billy, who has polio and uses a wheelchair, enjoys the time that he and Terry spend together.
“He’s more like a brother than a guardian to me,” Billy says. “When my brother died, he was there for me. He saw me through things.”
Enduring Tough Times
Billy and Terry’s relationship proved strong when Billy was hospitalized several times over the years. One hospital visit led to Billy having major surgery. Terry made sure he was there to comfort his friend throughout the process.
“Terry was with me through that. He’s been there when I’ve needed him,” Billy explains.
“I went up to visit him and to be with him,” Terry says. “That really brightened his day and it was a big highlight for me. It made me feel better that day.”
Now that Billy is back in better health, Terry continues to support his engagement in daily activities.
“He loves going to work,” Terry says. “He can’t miss a day of work.”
“I like doing different jobs and getting paid every two weeks!” Billy laughs. “You like that money, don’t you?” Terry says smiling. “Yeah!” Billy replies, chuckling.
Billy entered into the Special Olympics this past spring. “I placed second in two events and third in my last event,” Billy says.
Learning New Lessons
Since entering the program, Terry views his relationship with Billy as a learning experience. “My faith has grown a lot while being his guardian,” he says.
“The main thing he has really taught me is how to understand and respect people who are in his physical situation. I respect Billy very much and I applaud him.”
For Billy, the emotional comfort he gets from Terry is irreplaceable. “It’s just being there when you’re down or when you have a bad day.”
Interested in becoming a volunteer guardian? For Erie, Huron and Ottawa Counties, contact Carol Wheeler at email@example.com or 419-668-3073, ext. 102. For Richland County, contact Rebecca Owens at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-524-0733, ext. 225. Click here to learn more about our guardianship services.