Hand It On: Ms. Bettye Benton - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Hand It On: Ms. Bettye Benton

Christine Spring and Bettye Benton (Source: WAFB) Christine Spring and Bettye Benton (Source: WAFB)

This week’s hand it on was so touching I decided to do two things. 

First, I produced two different versions of the story. The first one is the one that aired on television and is attached as a video file above. That one is edited to conform to the shorter format that a television newscast requires. But the visit with the two ladies in the story was so good, I decided to produce a second version; a longer version of the same story. This is the version posted here, which does not have a time restriction. It offers you more unedited material than the television version allows.

Secondly, the entry letter I received was so well written that I’m going to post it below exactly as I received it.
It was read out loud by Ms. Christine Spring, 97, during our visit to their home. Due to the August 2016 flood, Ms. Christine moved in with her son and daughter-in-law, Jim and Kathy Spring. Jim actually penned the letter Ms. Christine wrote, but it was Ms. Christine who had the idea and forethought to nominate her friend, Bettye Benton, for WAFB’s Hand It On. Here’s Jim’s original letter:

When the Lord places in our path someone whose heart is profoundly good, whose spirit unceasingly kind, we are blessed by the encounter. When that individual remains in our lives over the years, we begin to gain perspective and understand that this is no ordinary person. We notice when we are in their presence, they have a gift for making us feel as if we are the most special person they know. The room seems illuminated by their generous kindness.

Bettye Benton is such a friend, like a warm beam of sunlight in winter that makes you feel content and happy.

She is an 87-year old Good Samaritan who lives alone and, like so many others, lost nearly everything in the flood - her apartment, her vehicle, her furniture, her keepsakes. But not her good heart. At her age, Bettye should be the person being looked after, yet week after week she visits and prays with a circle of five elderly shut-in ladies who live miles apart, bringing each home-cooked meals, companionship, and good cheer. As a former nurse, she is able to observe their health and welfare without the ladies even being aware of her watchful care.

Since she became a widow five years ago, this has been Bettye’s regular routine, but she is always looking for other ways to bring happiness to people along her pathway. She also plants colorful flowers in pots and bedding areas all around her assisted living complex, brightening the day of fellow seniors who long for a reminder of home. Bettye often makes bouquets of cut flowers for those who are unable to enjoy the bedding areas because of poor health.

This kind and thoughtful lady who places the needs of others above her own, lives on a modest income.  The cost of the meals, the gasoline, and the flowers all comes from her limited resources.  As she moves about her community in quiet anonymity, Bettye seeks no recognition, no acknowledgement. She wishes only to show the sometimes forgotten elderly that they are, indeed, remembered. . .and loved.

So goes the story - the story of a 97-year young person nominating her 87-year young best friend for Hand It On.

Photographer Derron Daquano and I, with the help of Jim, Kathy, and Christine Spring, agreed on a day and time to surprise Ms. Bettye. Bettye Benton arrived thinking she was going to visit her best friend over coffee and cookies, when Christine surprised Bettye with our Hand It On recognition.

"I wanted to tell you that I nominated you for Hand It On," Christine said as she embraced Bettye. "The Hand It On people are here to see you. I wanted them to know about my wonderful friend," Christine continued.

"Oh, you’re gonna make me cry," Bettye said, now unable to hold back tears.

"Well," Christine said, "It’ll be happy tears. And here is three hundred dollars to buy some more flowers and some more vegetable beef soup!"

"Oh honey, oh my goodness," Bettye exclaimed. "I’m just over come. I can’t believe you. I am so thrilled; thank you."

The excitement of the surprise finally settled down and we all gathered in the living room for coffee, cookies, and stories! These two incredible ladies - best friends since 1951 - shared more memories, more laughs, more tears.

But more important than all else – it was quite obvious the love both ladies shared for their Lord Jesus Christ.

Bettye summed it up like this: "It’s God’s work. I am as determined as anything that God has given me a purpose. And I will do it as long as I’m able. It is very satisfying. I think it’s one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done!"

What an awesome example "Granny" Christine Spring and Bettye Benton are to all of us.

To nominate someone for Hand It On, send an e-mail to HandItOn@wafb.com. Make sure to include your contact information, especially your telephone number.

Copyright 2017 WAFB. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly