Hammands life saved by S.A.I.L. program friends

Published 7:55 am Wednesday, February 6, 2002

By By Robbie Byrd, News Editor
At 79, Mary Hammands is in excellent health. She eats healthy, and thanks to the Poarch Creek S.A.I.L. program, she is able to get out and into town and do the things she otherwise couldn't do on her own.
More importantly, thanks to the Senior Activity Independent Living program and a few helpful friends there, she is able to live another day.
On Jan. 29, while eating lunch at the S.A.I.L. program, Hammands choked on a piece of bread. Thanks to two workers with the program, she was able to dislodge the food.
"I really thought I was gone," Hammands said. "I couldn't breath and I was going out fast."
Faye Thomas, Transportation Provider with the Poarch Creek S.A.I.L. program, heard others at the center calling for help after they noticed Hammands choking. She immediately ran into the room and delivered the Heimlich maneuver.
"She was eating lunch up here and she got choked on a piece of bread," Thomas said. "I broke and ran to her. I got around to her, and reached and pulled her up and started the Heimlich manuever. She was still rasping for breath after the first time, but after I did it again she started breathing again."
Hammands said the Thomas and others at the S.A.I.L. program took good care of her and made sure she was fine before bringing her home.
"They were so good to me," Hammands said. "They're such good people."
Hammands said that she cannot thank Thomas and the S.A.I.L. program enough for saving her life.
"I want to thank them all for all they do and for saving my life," Hammands said. "I am very grateful to be here today, and it's because of them."
Mrs. Hammands moved from Montana nearly 2 years ago to be closer to her family after the death of her husband. After living in Atmore for 10 months, she decided to move to the Poarch Creek Indian Reservation.
Shortly after moving to Poarch Hammands started participating in the S.A.I.L. program. She said it was one of the best things she ever did.
"They're so good to us all there," Hammands said. "I felt like I was very welcome there, and I still do."
Hammands said the program provides many services that she depends on, such as transportation and it also provides her with opportunities such as field trips and daily lunches.
"They take us anywhere we want to go," Hammands said. "We go on field trips sometimes and I eat lunch there everyday. They'll do just about anything there is to do for you."
Thomas said the program is great, not only for the seniors, but for her as well.
"It's all for the seniors," Thomas said. "Some of the elderly are home all day and it gives them a chance to mingle with others. We have different activities through the day, and we just have a lot of fun with them. If they have a problem or need they come to us and we do what we can to help them."
Thomas said that one of the requirements of working at the S.A.I.L. program was that she had to attend classes and be certified in CPR and other lifesaving techniques.
Thomas said she is glad to have Hammands at the S.A.I.L. program and is glad that she was able to help.
"We got to be good friends and I think the world of her." Thomas said. "She's a very nice person, and I really think a lot of her. I was glad I was able to help."
Hammands is thankful for the program and all that it has done for her.
"I wouldn't really have a life without them," Hammands said. "And they saved my life, too. I can't ever thank them enough."
Thomas said that it was all part of her job.
"She's been thanking me ever since," Thomas said.
For more information on the S.A.I.L. program contact the Poarch Creek Band of Indians 368-9136, ext. 2615.

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