Tragic Accident Has Community Coming Together To Help

Four grandchildren ages eleven months to seven years old are still waiting for their grandfather, William Gaylon Scarborough, to come home from playing bingo with his friends. The reality of the tragic accident is he won’t be coming home. William was killed by a hit and run driver on Monday, July 15, 2013 and died the following Thursday after never regaining consciousness. He was 76 years old.

Like a growing number of families in the United States, William and his wife Brenda of Monroe were the caregivers for four of their grandchildren who lived with them and depended on them for survival. According to the US Census Bureau 2007-2011 American Community Survey, 2.6 million grandparents living in the United States are responsible for the basic needs of one or more grandchildren who live with them. In Georgia, 45.8% of all grandparents are the primary caregivers and of that 45.8%, 2,440 live in the two county regions of Barrow and Walton counties. William and Brenda were part of that statistic and now Brenda is facing the difficult task of raising her grandchildren as a single grandmother. As funeral services were wrapping up this past Sunday, Brenda was wondering how she is going to manage this tough task alone.

Grandparents face many obstacles while raising their grandchildren. Along with the usual demands that are involved in becoming a parent, grandparent caregivers may also face many other challenges including emotional, social, financial, and legal issues. In addition, grandparents caring for their grandchildren could face a delay in retirement or quitting work early, inadequate housing or transportation, the responsibility of caring for other family members, loss of personal freedom, and/or not fitting in with other parents. To help overcome some of the barriers, Brenda and her grandchildren had joined the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program at the Athens Community Council on Aging. The purpose of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren is to provide home-based services and community resources to improve the physical and emotional well-being of inter-generational families. Brenda will need the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program and the support of her community now more than ever. “We were devastated when we heard that Mr. Scarborough had been injured in a hit and run accident. We immediately started preparing to help the family,” stated Paige Powell, program director for the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program. She went on to say, “the Scarborough’s are one of the precious families that our program is able to help and when we found out he had passed away tragically, we knew we needed to go above and beyond to make sure the community was aware of their situation and could come together and generate support for the family during this tragic time.”

In response to the family’s needs, the William G. Scarborough Memorial Fund has been set up at the Athens First Bank and Trust, Monroe location, but of course someone could go to any of their locations to make a donation.  You can also contact Powell at 706-549-4850 or ppowell@accaging.org for other ways to help.  “We are so thankful for the help of Athens First Bank and Trust and are urging people to go in to any of their locations to make a donation of any amount to help with the impending expenses and struggles the Scarborough family will be facing,” stated Powell. “It is so important for us to be able to call on the community during a time like this. Even though the tragedy is still there, the family will see the support of their community around them coming together.”

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