Thursday, January 29, 2009


He was born in 1915. He grew up in the Great Depression, served as a medic in World War II and earned a Purple Heart. He married, bought a small home and spent many years as a foundry worker before retiring. He and the Mrs. never had children. She passed away a few years ago; he lived alone in the house they bought after the war. His memory was slipping. He seldom left the house. He did not see the note the electric company left on his door weeks ago.

On January 17, ninety-three-year-old Marvin Schur was found in his Michigan home, frozen to death. The temperature in the house was thirty-two degrees. On the kitchen table was a pile of cash to pay the stack of bills that lay beside it. That's as far as Marvin got paying the electric bill before his power was turned off for nonpayment.

Marvin Schur earned a Purple Heart decades ago, but in the end, he gave his life for his fellow elders. His death has elicited outrage and will surely result in changes to "the system". Last week, many of you responded to my news of lobbying for the elderly. I was so encouraged by your sincere concern. Sadly, the bill was shelved under the dark shadow of budget cuts. But God is in control. We will mount a longer, stronger campaign next year.

In the meantime, I urge you to pray for positive change. Look around your neighborhood. Is there someone whose life would be changed by the smallest bit of your attention? God always uses what Satan meant for evil to create good. Rather than simply be saddened by Marvin Schur's death, let's pray that God would open our eyes to the least of these our brethren.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.
Photo Credit Here

The last Word:
This is why He said, "Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light." So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don't act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do.
Ephesians 5: 14-17, NLT.


Sue said...

Hi Gail,
What a sad story. I'm glad you are working to prevent things like that from happening again. It's too bad the bill was shelved.

I really don't understand all the economic stimulus and bail out stuff. I am personally outraged that our economy is based on debt. I was just telling my husband on the way to work that our money is being taken away for taxes, and the interest on our savings keeps going down. Even though our home is paid for, when we are old, we could end up being poor. The cost for health care is becoming outrageous.

Well, I hope you don't mind my venting. What happened to Marvin is what is really outrageous. I wonder how many others that has happened to.

Thanks for telling us to be aware of who lives around us.

God Bless,

Tina said...

what a sad story, its stories like these that cause me reflect on Isaiah 55 "For my ways are not your ways". I will pray today that God will open my eyes to those around me and give me the courage to step out and help where I can.

Denise said...

This breaks my heart, it is so wrong. I hate the way our elderly are treated. They are not animals, they are precious human being. I am in much prayer over this situation dear. I love you, thanks for all you do.

Gail W. said...

"They are not animals; they are precious human beings." AMEN, Denise - you hit the nail on the head!

Sita said...

Gail, 2 summers ago, my parents came to stay with us for medical visits etc...I never realized how hard it would be to watch how my parents' lives had deteriorated in the physical and mental realm...I realized that would be me in the not too distant future...
Our elders deserve the honour respect for the honour they have brought to our Eastern cultures that is very much the custom..but when some Easterners come here and get immersed in materialism, they 'use' and 'abuse' their parents as babysitters and is so hard to see that..
thank you so much for caring about these concerns..may you always rmember God's Hand is with you in this..
Love, Sita

Angie said...

Yes. That same story could probably be told for countless elderly all over the U.S.
Tragic. Sad. Heartbreaking.
I found the nugget for today in your "last word"....I usually do--it's usually FOR ME..."Make the most of every opportunity".
Every.Single.Opportunity. To do so ....we much be "watchful".

What a tremendous blessing you are ---I JUST KNOW---to your community and fellow laborers in your cause. I am BLESSED...everytime I am here.

Love you dear Gail. So much. Thought much recently about the 90 Days trek with you! Can't say when I've enjoyed anything more.---well---It would probably be the Bible Study with Wanda....but this was MIGHTY close! :)

Gail W. said...

Yes, it's endemic in Western society. I'm also reminded of a recent report from Amrita in India ( telling of many people dying for lack of heat during a cold snap in that country. We can always find others in worse shape when we look.

Carol said...

It is tragic. I think about how hard it is for my mom. She's 80 and right now insists on living alone, she's still capable of it even with having survived a stroke.

I live in a mobile home park with lot's of elderly people, and this makes me think, how many times have I driven through and not noticed things. God open my eyes to those who need love, and someone to care for them.

Thank you for this.


Amrita said...

This breaks my heart too Gail. Marvin 's life did not have to end this way. Kaybe he should have gone to an old people 's home.In India such places are very rare.

But mny people are dying like this.

Nancy said...

What a tragic story this is. I heard it on the news and it broke my heart. You are so right. God can use this for good. Perhaps to prevent this from happening to someone else.

Great post.

HIS Daughter said...

Horrible and tragic! My daughter worked as a Social Worker in San Diego before moving to San Francisco and they found at least one or two people in apartments dead.

Many of the homeless are former veterans. It makes me so sad because we have totally forgotten what Christ said about caring for others. We are a society of getting rich and needing more and more.....and nothing satisfies.

Blessings to you,

Crown of Beauty said...

This story really broke my heart. What a sad way to die. Thank you for taking time to share it with us. I know God will reward your efforts. My God lead us to many opportunities to meaningfully touch and heal our communities with His love.