Veteran retailer seeks donations for specially equipped van to transport employee’s disabled child
When Jan Fergerson, secretary and treasurer of Rome, Georgia-based Ford, Gittings & Kane sees a need, she doesn’t wait for others to take action, she jumps in with both feet and handles it. She credits her father, a retired minister, as well as Joe Gittings, founder of Ford, Gittings and Kane, as her mentors in servanthood, and surrounds herself with people who show by their deeds that, “To whom much is given, much is expected.”
Jan had no way of knowing three years ago when she and partner Alice Herring welcomed Krista Womack into the Ford, Gittings and Kane family, just exactly how Krista and her daughter AuBree would become woven into the tapestry of her life. Nor could she have imagined that the Ford, Gittings, & Kane team, already widely known in their local community for their giving ways, would be called upon in such a big way to help a little one of their own.
Recalling the first day she met Krista, Jan says, “She walked into Ford, Gittings and Kane and asked for a job. She said, ‘I was fired by my previous employer yesterday for missing too many days of work because my daughter was in the hospital’.” Jan said, “In that moment, Alice and I saw a determined young lady who needed a job and seemed to have a good head on her shoulders. We looked at each other, knowing we were thinking with our hearts and not our brains, but we both felt inspired to give her an opportunity. We took a chance on Krista that day, and we have never regretted it.”
Jan and Alice soon learned that Krista’s special needs daughter, AuBree had many medical issues, the two biggest being her confinement to a wheelchair and receiving all of her nourishment through a feeding tube. While the feeding tube sometimes presents a problem of its own, it was the wheelchair that began taking a physical toll on Krista herself. Years of lifting the 90-pound chair in and out of the car for doctors visits, short trips or errands, even moving it in and out of the house to take AuBree outside for a walk, now began causing pain in Krista’s back.
Jan says, “People that know me know I am not a patient person and I am not good at staying quiet when I see something that needs to be done. I noticed Krista coming into work with back pain, and I asked her what was going on. When she told me lifting AuBree’s 90 pound wheelchair was taking its toll, my first thought was, ‘We have to do something.’ That is when I started making calls, and reaching out to people in our community and our industry to see if I could find a handicap accessible van. I knew it would be expensive, but I also knew it would address not only the short term medical problems Krista was now experiencing, but help create a better quality of life for both Krista and AuBree in the long term.”
Once Jan found the perfect van, and began quietly soliciting donations towards the $14,000 cost, she realized fundraising on such a large scale would be easier if she could offer it in a way that would create higher visibility and give the benefit of a tax deduction to those who wished to contribute.
Enter Grant Magness, a youth minister Jan has served with for over twenty years. Grant, along with his wife Rachel, are the founders of Mission is Possible, a Grace Based Foundation, and also run a gymnastics center for children 3 – 19 years old. Once a month, they open the center to special needs children which provides recreation for the children and respite for their families. After learning about Krista’s situation with AuBree, and Jan’s quest to raise money to purchase a handicap accessible van, he generously offered the foundation as a base for tax deductible donations. These donations, in turn, would be used to purchase the van, pay taxes, and pay insurance on the van to help Krista with the initial expenses.
While Jan has been somewhat successful raising some small donations towards the purchase of the van for Krista within her local community, she hopes that by sharing Krista’s story within the jewelry industry that she will be able to raise the additional funds necessary to complete the purchase of the van in a timely manner. “Our industry is filled with caring people who are quick to help out one of their own, and Krista and AuBree certainly are one of us. Whether folks can find it in their hearts, and wallets, to help us out financially, or even just by praying for this precious mother/daughter duo, know that we are tremendously grateful. Everyone needs an angel now and then, and I hope reading about Krista and AuBree will inspire you to become one for them. Just knowing people care about Krista and AuBree means the world to us!”
|Krista Womack with her daughter AuBree.|
If you’d like to become one of “AuBree’s Angels” and make a financial contribution towards the van for Krista, please send your donation today. Make checks payable to “Mission is Possible” and mail to: Ford, Gittings and Kane, 312 Broad Street, Rome, Georgia 30161 Attn: Jan Fergerson or call Jan Fergerson directly at 706-291-8811.