The community of Pangburn and surrounding areas are coming together to help Jerry Haines with a benefit concert
Periodically, we publish features on what we consider gems of our community. Recently, another gem was brought to our attention and his name is Jerry Haines of Pangburn. Jerry is a local favorite in the Pangburn community, especially in the school where is beloved by students and staff alike. School nurse Margaret McNabb reached out to us to let us know about an unfortunate series of circumstances that have fallen on Jerry recently. Jerry is 33-years-old and autistic. His mother and caretaker Shirley recently passed away and, due to a mortgage, the bank took the home he and his mother shared. Under the loving guidance of his legal guardian, Barbara Doyle, the community has decided to come to the aid of Jerry to relocate him to a safe, clean home of his own next to Doyle, who became close with Jerry when she was an employee at the school. I spoke with Doyle and Jerry about his situation.
“Jerry lost his mother January 21st,” said Doyle. “She had made a will for me to be his guardian and the home they lived in was not desirable. Someone had even broken in on him when she was at the hospital. And so, we wanted to get him out of that situation and out of that house. We have moved into a trailer over beside me.”
“I had some people out there bothering me,” said Jerry, referring to his old home.
“He was afraid to stay out there,” continued Doyle. “We found out after Shirley passed away that the house was mortgaged and we’re going to probate.”
Jerry graduate from high school in Pangburn in 2001 and where he also worked doing errands in the office and assisted Doyle, who was the high school secretary. After graduation, Doyle asked the superintendent if they could give him a job continuing his work at the school, which was granted.
“He’s been a very valuable employee his 13 years here at the school,” said High School Principal David Rolland.
When Jerry was in 7th grade, Doyle was concerned that he would face problems from the other kids in school. So she took him under her wing.
When his mother passed, she was the designated payee for his Social Security benefits, which resulted in them cutting his payments. Doyle, as his legal guardian, was able to get those reinstated. She set up a checking account in his name with him as the designated payee and also to accept donations to help Jerry recover from the life altering circumstances he was facing.
“The school has been wonderful,” said Doyle. “The community has really come together to help Jerry get the things he needs.
The community has come together to raise funds to help Jerry get the stable and secure environment he needs after his mother’s passing. Initially, they were looking to raise money to get him a home, but a generous person(s), who wanted to remain anonymous, purchased a trailer for Jerry so that he may have the environment he needs next to Doyle.
“The anonymous people that bought the trailer.. I would really like to compensate them back in some way,” said Doyle. “Because they’re having to pay for the trailer and rent. They don’t charge Jerry a dime.”
“The trailer had initially been given to a nursing home and it cost about $5600 to get that,” said McNabb. “Her goal is to be able to compensate them in part for what they did.”
Compensating the generous people that helped is not the only expense Jerry faces. The probate costs will be around $600. He also needs furniture and insurance for the trailer, along with many of the basic starter necessities that many of us take for granted.
To assist with these, the community is holding a benefit for Jerry this Saturday, March 15th, at 7pm at the Pangburn School District Performing Arts Center. A musical concert featuring Jason McNabb, the First Baptist Church Men’s Quartet, and Jana Haymond will be presented. While there is no admission charge, donations are encouraged to help raise the funds to help Jerry.
In addition to donations, a silent auction will be held to raise funds. When I was interviewing Jerry and Doyle, they informed me they had just learned Garrie Massengale had donated a registered 2-year-old quarter horse filly to be auctioned off. This is on top of the desserts that will be auctioned and any other donations they may receive before Saturday.
“He’s my angel,” said Doyle. “It says in the Bible, sometimes we don’t entertain angels. You know, we’ll miss an opportunity. And he’s my opportunity.”
If you’re interested in making a donation to assist with this gem of our community, either monetarily or through an item donation to the silent auction, contact Margaret McNabb at 501-278-6402 or 870-926-6608. You can also reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She asks that item donations be pledged and/or received by Friday so they may prepare for the auction on Saturday.
The Sun-Times will be covering this event to help Jerry and we encourage everyone in our community to come to the aid of one of our gems in need.