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OPIOID Epidemic

Serving the Sandhills & Southern Piedmont

SEPTEMBER 2019 | 1



March 26-29, 2020 Owens Auditorium at BPAC

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features CONTENTS

26 24



HUMBLED AND RENEWED: Habitat for Humanity’s Hardcore Volunteers


A SECOND CHANCE: To Help the World



ONC BOOK CLUB: Who is Vera Kelly?

4 | SEPTEMBER 2019

34 CAROLINA CONVERSATIONS: Aging Outreach Services Owner Amy Natt VOLUNTEERISM: What do you care about?

OPIOIDS: It Could Be Anyone

Women’s cancer is not always

1 in 78 women will develop ovarian cancer in her lifetime. Spread the awareness of all gynecologic cancers this September. including patient navigation, integrative medicine, nutrition and dietary assistance, stress management, massage therapy, clinical trials and more.

SEPTEMBER 2019 | 5 875-60-19


departments 13

10 12 13 14 16 18

ASK THE EXPERT: A Helping Hand Amy Natt, MS, CMC, CSA BRAIN HEALTH: Volunteer with Dementia Patients Maryanne Edmundson, PhD, LP

COOKING SIMPLE: Cinnamon Rolls Habitat for Humanity LAW REVIEW: Preparing for Financial Fire Margaret (Mia) Lorenz, Attorney CAROLINA CURIOSITIES: Rosenwald-funded School Ray Linville

EAT RIGHT: Hunger Awareness Month Laura Buxenbaum, MPH, RD, LDN

6 | SEPTEMBER 2019


20 21 18 62 65 66

NEW BOOK: The Christmas Spirits of Tradd Street Karen White

BODY HEALTH: If It Ain’t Broke, don’t fix it... or do I? Shelby Grata, BSN, RN, CHC

VETERANS CORNER: Understand Survivor Benefits Jim Pedersen GREY MATTER PUZZLES Crossword, Word Search, Sudoku OVER MY SHOULDER: “It takes a village...” Ann Robson GENERATIONS QUESTION: Name a thing you are an expert in.

The House with Nobody In It Joyce Kilmer

Whenever I walk to Suffern along the Erie track I go by a poor old farmhouse with its shingles broken and black. I suppose I've passed it a hundred times, but I always stop for a minute And look at the house, the tragic house, the house with nobody in it. I never have seen a haunted house, but I hear there are such things; That they hold the talk of spirits, their mirth and sorrowings. I know this house isn't haunted, and I wish it were, I do; For it wouldn't be so lonely if it had a ghost or two. This house on the road to Suffern needs a dozen panes of glass, And somebody ought to weed the walk and take a scythe to the grass. It needs new paint and shingles, and the vines should be trimmed and tied; But what it needs the most of all is some people living inside. If I had a lot of money and all my debts were paid I'd put a gang of men to work with brush and saw and spade. I'd buy that place and fix it up the way it used to be And I'd find some people who wanted a home and give it to them free. Now, a new house standing empty, with staring window and door, Looks idle, perhaps, and foolish, like a hat on its block in the store. But there's nothing mournful about it; it cannot be sad and lone For the lack of something within it that it has never known. But a house that has done what a house should do, a house that has sheltered life, That has put its loving wooden arms around a man and his wife, A house that has echoed a baby's laugh and held up his stumbling feet, Is the saddest sight, when it's left alone, that ever your eyes could meet. So whenever I go to Suffern along the Erie track I never go by the empty house without stopping and looking back, Yet it hurts me to look at the crumbling roof and the shutters fallen apart, For I can't help thinking the poor old house is a house with a broken heart. SEPTEMBER 2019 | 7

from the editor


Advocacy and volunteering has a special place in the hearts of so many of us. We all advocate for and volunteer, in some capacity, with the things that matter most to us. As parents, we advocate for our children in a myriad of ways, from choosing good schools to overseeing homework to monitoring healthy diets and sleep habits. We volunteer in our communities in formal ways and informal ways, from stocking the shelves of food pantries to mowing the neighbor’s lawn during hard times. According to a US Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2016, 25% of Americans volunteer. For many of us, the second half of our lives is a great time to pursue our passions through advocacy and volunteering, along the way connecting with others who share our interests or desire to make a difference and give back. The perks of volunteering are many and include better physical and emotional health, feeling more engaged and, ironically, feeling that we have more time, learning new skills and connecting us in our relationships.

Finally, we begin our four-part series on the opioid epidemic, which so deeply affects our country, our communities and each one of us in such personal, individual ways. This month we look at the numbers and statistics regarding the opioid crisis and begin exploring how it impacts us at both the macro and micro levels, that is, how our communities are affected and how individual people have struggled with the effects and aftermath of opioid addiction (p. 54).

This month we hear from Habitat for Humanity’s Hardcore Volunteers, who share their stories not only of what they give back but how much they receive in return (p. 26), explore how to actually decide on volunteer options and service fits (p. 44) and hear from people who started second careers with purpose and meaning in their second 50 (p. 30). We’re also thrilled to interview Amy Natt and hear about her passion for advocacy and outreach in her role as President and CEO of Aging Outreach Services, which turns 20 years old this year (p. 34).

is being unwanted, unloved and uncared for. | SEPTEMBER 2019

If there is a purpose behind advocacy and volunteering, it is perhaps that it connects us to each other, something many of us at times find missing in our communities and in our personal lives. We are busy. We are tired. We are afraid of reaching out or having others reaching in. But all of that busyness and fear can leave us isolated and alone, a condition Mother Theresa described in saying,

“The greatest disease in the west today is

not TB or leprosy: it

We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love.”

Let our advocacy and volunteering be the candle that lights the way toward more hope, connection and love.

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or mail a check to: PO BOX 2478 Southern Pines, NC 28388 SEPTEMBER 2019 | 9


Our Aging Life Care ProfessionalsTM will answer any aging questions you may have.

Email us your questions!

A Helping Hand by Amy Natt, MS, CMC, CSA

My wife stays in her room all day, sorting clothes and rearranging her drawers. Is there something I can do to provide more activities for her? She just seems to get agitated if I try to get her to stop. Often when sorting and rummaging behaviors are displayed, there is some type of brain or memory impairment involved. If your wife has not yet been evaluated by a medical professional, I would suggest you begin there. If she has some form of dementia diagnosis, this is not uncommon behavior. It may be a sign that she is experiencing increased stress or anxiety. She may be constantly rearranging her drawers to reassure herself that her things are still there or because she is having trouble remembering where her things are. She may also be hiding other items in the drawers, or hoarding things to help her gain a sense of control. When you notice these behaviors, you can certainly try to offer other activities or redirect her, but if rearranging the drawers is making her happy and it is not harmful to her or others, then it is also okay to let her continue. It is certainly not something you want to argue with her about or ask her to explain, as this will likely trigger the agitation. Here are a few things you might try: • Offer to help her label the drawers so she knows where her belongings go • Ask her if she can help sort and fold other laundry, towels or socks • Come up with a list of other activities she is still able to manage, like setting the table or watering plants and suggest she try one of those • Offer some type of physical activity, to help her burn off any excess energy. You could go for a walk together, ride a stationary bike or just get outdoors for some fresh air 10 | SEPTEMBER 2019

• If there are any items that are sharp or potentially harmful, go ahead and remove those • Find a game you can both play together, like cards or dominos • Help her find ways she can feel productive, like volunteering together, helping with meals, or taking care of a small garden • Try playing soft or familiar music that may help her to relax • If she seems to enjoy sorting, they make items you can order online to sort into different containers; local craft or teaching supply stores may have items as well. Just make sure you don’t give her anything that could be a choking hazard

Find ways to help keep her hands occupied that don’t require short term memory. Depending on her diagnosis and where she is at in the journey, an adult day or senior enrichment center may offer appropriate activities as well. Reach out to local support groups or other people who might be dealing with similar issues and share ideas. Keep in mind, what works one day or moment, may not work the next, so be patient with her and make sure you both have the support you need.

Readers may send questions to Amy Natt, an Aging Life Care ProfessionalTM, certified senior advisor and CEO of Aging Outreach Services. She can be reached at .





SUN, SEPT 29, 2019 | 3PM

Mozart: Symphony No. 31, “Paris” Elgar: “Enigma” Variations G. Williams: Sea Sketches

RACHMANINOFF M AT INEE SYMPHONY NO. 2 ! SUN, OCT 13, 2019 | 3PM Rune Bergmann, conductor Philippe Quint, violin Barber: Violin Concerto Chaplin: Suite for Violin and Orchestra Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2 Concert Sponsor: Aging Outreach Services



THUR, MAR 5, 2020 | 8PM

Oscar Hammerstein III, host Music from South Pacific, The Sound of Music, State Fair, The King and I, Carousel, and Oklahoma!, will delight all ages! Concert Sponsor: Quail Haven Retirement Village




MON, DEC 23, 2019 | 7PM

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Wesley Schulz, conductor Celebrate the season with beloved holiday music, including music from The Polar Express and The Nutcracker—plus a sing-along! Concert Sponsor: Penick Village

GRANT CONDUCTS BRITTEN & ELGAR THUR, JAN 30, 2020 | 8PM Grant Llewellyn, conductor Purcell: The Fairy Queen Suite No. 1 Sally Beamish: The Day Dawn Elgar: Serenade, Op. 20 Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis Britten: Simple Symphony Concert Sponsor: Penick Village

Michał Nesterowicz, conductor Lukáš Vondráček, piano Fanny Mendelssohn: Overture in C Major Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 2 Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade


TUES, MAY 26, 2020 | 8PM Enjoy some of your favorite John Williams epic scores, including Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and more!


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11 WED, 21, 2018 | 7:30PM


Brian Reagin, violin



Volunteer with Dementia Patients

by Maryanne Edmundson, Ph. D., L.P. Ask the person’s caregivers what strategies they know help If you’re looking for a volunteer opportunity, you may to calm the person if they become upset (like reassurance or consider working with people who have dementia. distraction with a certain song or topic of interest). Fourth, Why volunteer? Many people’s lives have been touched by people with dementia are more than their disorder. Unless dementia. Some people with dementia do not have family the activity is centered on having dementia (as with support close by or need more assistance than they have the resources to obtain – by volunteering, you can help to support their need groups), you may wish to keep the conversation on something other than dementia, like the person’s hobbies and interests. for social interaction, entertainment, and fun! Your help may Finally, generally speaking, people enjoy being treated with allow an opportunity for the person’s caregiver(s) to have a much-appreciated break. Plus, giving back to your community care, dignity, empathy, and validation of their worth as a person – the best volunteers strive to embody these ideals can be good for your own mood, sense of purpose, and keeps when working with people who have dementia. your brain active, all of which can reduce your own risk of cognitive decline.

Before embarking on your volunteering journey, it helps to know some basic dementia facts. “Dementia” describes any decline in cognition (e.g., memory, thinking speed, attention) that causes a person to need more assistance with daily functioning, like driving and managing finances and medications. There are many different causes of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and strokes. The specific cognitive changes a person will have depends on the cause of the dementia and brain areas affected – for example, people with Alzheimer’s have problems with shortterm memory, whereas a person who had a stroke may have no memory problems if the stroke did not occur in memoryrelated brain centers and pathways. When volunteering, it is helpful to know what type of dementia the people with whom you will be working have. Even if you do not know the exact cause of the person’s dementia, there are some strategies you can use to make your volunteering go smoothly. First, if the person with whom you are volunteering has short-term memory loss, they may repeat stories and questions multiple times. Remain calm and every time the person repeats the same question, give them the same brief answer as if you have never said it before… to them, it may always feel like the first time. Second, because some dementias affect recent memories, visits may be facilitated by asking the person with dementia to recount pleasant memories from their past that they still remember well. Third, people with dementia may tire more easily and have a hard time with change, so it may help to keep visits brief, during a time of day when the person is less likely to be tired (such as the morning), and should not disrupt their typical routine. 12 | SEPTEMBER 2019

The kinds of volunteer activities you may do with individuals with dementia may vary depending on the type or severity of the dementia, the setting (e.g., community-dwelling vs. nursing facility residents), and your time constraints and talents. You can check with your local assisted living or skilled nursing facilities regarding volunteer opportunities – some have programs for visiting residents, making gifts for them, or other activities (such as helping to throw holiday parties). Some volunteers use their talents of playing music or making colorful art to brighten the days of people with dementia. When working with people with severe dementia, it is advisable to keep the activity simple (e.g., listening to music) – complex tasks may be harder for the person to follow and may be more likely to lead to agitation. Several organizations have volunteer opportunities, including the Alzheimer’s Association, Dementia Alliance of NC, and Moore County Department of Aging. Some areas also have Memory Cafés, in which people with dementia and their families can socialize with people in their community – these provide relatively brief, low stress times to brighten the day of someone with dementia. If you have questions about volunteering with people who have cognitive difficulties and/or dementia, consult with your local neuropsychologist and/or dementia association. Dr. Maryanne Edmundson is a clinical neuropsychologist at Pinehurst Neuropsychology Brain & Memory Clinic. She can be reached at 910-4208041 or through the website at www.



While sitting with several Habitat for Humanity volunteers and discussing the joys of working on building sites, mention of a certain volunteer’s cinnamon rolls came up more than once. Volunteer Jim says the cinnamon rolls are always a welcome sight and certainly keep early morning work rolling right along. The Muffin Mamas, who provide baked goods and snacks for building teams, were gracious enough to give us the recipe, so roll up your sleeves and tear open a box of butterscotch pudding mix: These babies are famous! Ingredients: • 24 Rhodes Frozen Dinner Rolls (come in pkg of 36) • 1 small box of butterscotch pudding (cook/serve, not instant) • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon Directions 1. Night before: Grease bottom of 9x13 pan (I use Pam) 2. Put in dinner rolls 3. Mix dry pudding, cinnamon, pecans together and sprinkle on top of rolls 4. Melt butter 5. Add sugar to melted butter and whisk until thick and smooth (and butter has disappeared) 6. Pour butter/sugar mixture over rolls 7. Cover with plastic wrap and set on counter (not in fridge)

• 1 cup chopped pecans • 1 cup butter • 1 cup brown sugar

Morning 1. Preheat oven to 350° 2. Remove saran wrap from pan 3. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes 4. Remove pan from oven 5. Cover pan with foil and bake another 10 minutes (ovens vary) 6. Invert onto cookie sheet or jelly roll pan 7. Enjoy!

SEPTEMBER 2019 | 13



Stop, Drop & Roll: Preparing for Financial Fire by Margaret (Mia) Lorenz, Attorney

When I was very young, my mother would have fire drills at our house. I was one of four children. My mother would “pretend” tuck us all in bed, and then yell “Fire – Fire.” We had been told where to go in the house for exit, and upon hearing the panicked “Fire – Fire” we rushed to the second story window that exited over the garage to escape. We were prepared for fire with advanced planning and drills. We also had drilled into us that once we got out of the house, we should dial 911 for help. Unfortunately, seniors are not as prepared with an advance plan, and seniors do not always call 911.

People over 55 hold the majority of the nation’s wealth – and criminals know and prey on this. These criminals also know that as people age, financial skills are among the first skills to diminish – this includes impairment of insight as to whether something is a scam or legitimate offer. Moreover, the criminals know that seniors will be embarrassed and scared of judgment, and are therefore unlikely to report the crime; so, the criminals know that they will likely NOT be chased. Scams that target seniors are only increasing – because the seniors hold the wealth. How do you prevent being a victim of financial abuse?

In my work, I see many instances of financial exploitation of seniors. Through my work, and through research, I have discovered that very often seniors do not have an awareness of financial abuse statistics, and that seniors do not “report” financial abuse either to the authorities or to their family. The failure to report the crime is especially true when a senior is the victim of a crime that involves theft by a trusted caregiver; theft by a family member; and/or theft by a criminal who duped the senior. You see, being the victim of a crime is a horrifying and traumatic experience on its own. If you throw into the mix, the fact that the senior victim fears losing their independence; fears that they will be “put in a home”; fears that their mind is failing and “this will prove that my abilities are diminished,” you have the perfect storm of emotions that cause a senior to NOT report the crime. As a result, senior financial abuse is one of the most under-reported crimes in America.

The first step is to understand that senior financial abuse is a widespread epidemic that deserves your attention and preparation. There are corporations in existence whose sole goal is to safeguard seniors’ assets from criminals who especially prey on them! There is specially-designed technology to prevent the abuse of a senior’s assets! This is a real threat and warrants discussion between you and your trusted friend or relative.

14 | SEPTEMBER 2019

Embedded in the first step is the reality that as a person ages, you maintain independence best by making sure you have a trusted person on your side and in the know. Shortly put: HAVE A PLAN to prevent the crime. The fact is that as we age, our bodies and/or mind will age too. No “fountain of youth” has been discovered. Needing the assistance of another, as we age, is a fact. In my opinion,

and as a result of the work that I do, I believe that if a trusted person or persons are not identified by the senior, the senior stands a larger chance of becoming a victim of senior financial abuse, and NOT living the twilight years as the senior would choose. THE PLAN to avoid financial exploitation involves identifying a trusted person or persons who understand(s) the senior’s goals and objectives in life; understands the senior’s thoughts on nursing homes and the resources the senior has to enable their attainment of their goals until their passing. Do not wait to do this! A person can best evaluate and consider their trusted person’s capacities and motivations when one is most sharp. Once the senior has identified the person or persons they trust, disclosure and much conversation needs to occur. This can be difficult because many are very private. We are entitled to our privacy. However, when nobody is in the know and a senior becomes incapable of handling their own financial affairs because of sudden illness or accident, the result is publication of all assets at the courthouse. That’s right – when there is no person legally empowered to assist you, and you are deemed by the authorities as in need of assistance because of a temporary incapacity or more protracted incapacity – the court (the state) gets involved and all resources are disclosed in guardianship proceedings. And so, failing to disclose to a trusted person, can --and often does -- result in the exact opposite of what the senior was hoping to avoid: publication of their resources and assets.

and objectives. Basically, the attorney is trying to ensure that a trusted person(s) is/are equipped to monitor and assist the senior; and if an emergency occurs, the senior’s trusted person(s) is/are best equipped to help the senior. Also, the senior’s attorney can guide the senior on identifying the information that your trusted person will need. Some people are very organized, but some need help in getting information in an organized fashion for disclosure. Also, your attorney can discuss with the senior: when is it time to consider a power of attorney? How can my finances be monitored by my trusted individuals? How often should my trusted individual and I connect to ensure all is in order? Increased awareness of the crime of senior financial abuse should result in more seniors and their families developing a plan – they should have fire drills! There are many resources available online (some of which are listed below) providing advice and good ideas on how seniors and their trusted person(s) can work together to prevent financial abuse. Seniors need to avoid being burned in the fire of financial exploitation. Have a plan! The threat is real and the consequences are dire. protectingtheelderly.aspx

Once a trusted person is identified and disclosure occurs, it is wise for the senior and the trusted person(s) to consult with the senior’s attorney on the senior’s goals Margaret (Mia) Lorenz is an attorney in Southern Pines at Lorenz and Creed Law Firm PLLC, where she helps people with many legal needs such as preparing their wills and/ or trusts, helping when a loved one dies, and helping purchase or sell real estate. She has been assisting people with their legal needs for 26 years. In addition to her husband, John, to whom she has been married for 27 years, she has two children (Matthew and Nicole); three furry children (Brandy (basset beagle hound mix), Mickey and Minnie (cats); and is grandmother to two furry grandchildren (Clif the dog and Aurora, the cat). SEPTEMBER 2019 | 15



Schools That Changed Our Region by Ray Linville

How did a wealthy businessman from Chicago become so involved in educating school children in the South, especially in our area, almost a century ago? Increasingly lost in our collective memory is how Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears, Roebuck and Company, teamed up with Booker T. Washington, president of Tuskegee Institute and an African-American leader and philanthropist, to create school after school throughout our region in the early twentieth century. Washington was known for saying, “If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” Rosenwald did exactly that. In the segregated school systems of the Jim Crow era, the education of African-American students was woefully inadequate and underfunded. To offset this deficiency, Rosenwald established a fund that provided “seed money” to build almost 5,000 schools for African-Americans in 15 states— those that had joined the Confederacy and several bordering states. More buildings were constructed in North Carolina than any other state—813 were erected here. Moore County’s surviving Rosenwald-funded school is in Pinebluff. Known as the Lincoln Park School, the onestory, four-teacher building that served Addor and nearby African-American communities. 16 | SEPTEMBER 2019

Built in 1922, it still stands at 1272 S. Currant St. Placed on the National Register in 1997, it hasn’t been used as a school for 70 years. In Moore County, a total of 15 Rosenwald schools (serving 50 teachers) were built during 1920-1929. In the OutreachNC readership area, Harnett County had the most Rosenwald schools with 23 (built during 19221930 for 73 teachers). Still surviving is a complex of six buildings known as Harnett County Training School that began as a two-story, 14-teacher structure built in 1922. When it opened in Dunn at 610 E. Johnston St., it served first through 11th graders and was the only brick multistory school for African-Americans in the county. It became one of the largest Rosenwald schools in the state when it was expanded in 1927. Placed on the National Register in 2014, it is one of only three multi-story Rosenwald schools in the state still standing. Next is Richmond County, where 65 teachers taught in 21 Rosenwald schools, ranging from one- to 10-teacher structures, built during 1918-1930. As many as 17 are no longer identifiable or known to the Richmond County Historical Association; knowledge of them has vanished along with the structures. Still physically surviving is Liberty Hill School at 234 Covington Community Road northwest of Ellerbe that was placed on the National Register in 2008. The building has two classrooms as well as an industrial room where girls learned home economics and boys were trained to use farming tools. The one-story, two-teacher building, built in 1930 when construction of Rosenwald schools was ending in our area, was no longer used as a school by the mid-1950s. In addition to building schools, Rosenwald wanted to promote collaboration among white and black citizens. He required local communities to raise matching funds

and white-controlled school boards to operate and maintain the schools. When the school-building program ended in 1932, the Rosenwald Fund had contributed $4.3 million to improve African-American education in the South. Raising money to match Rosenwald’s donations was not easy for cotton and tobacco tenant farmers in rural communities. The grassroots-fundraising literally collected a penny and a nickel at a time; however, eventually African-Americans in the South contributed $4.7 million. In North Carolina, they contributed more than $666,000 to the program. The schools were designed very carefully because they originally had no electricity. To maximize natural light, their plans included detailed suggestions for window placement, blackboard location and desk orientation. By 1929, Rosenwald schools served one-third of the South’s rural African-American students and teachers. Many schools were demolished after the Supreme Court ruling in 1954 that school segregation is unconstitutional. In most areas, these buildings have long decayed, been abandoned and lost in time with little trace of their existence. However, in a few communities, the old schools have found new lives as senior citizen housing, a town hall, community centers, and offices. Others have been preserved by being placed on the National Register of Historic Places. As late as 2002, the National Trust for Historic Preservation began a campaign to raise awareness and money for protecting Rosenwald schools and named them as being near the top of America’s most endangered places. Other Rosenwald schools in our area were seven schools (with 18 teachers) in Cumberland County built during 1922-1929. In Hoke, three (with 10 teachers) were built during 1919-1924; in Lee, four (16 teachers) during 1925-

1927; in Montgomery, 10 (30 teachers) during 1922-1929; in Robeson, 14 (53 teachers) during 1918-1929; and in Scotland, 14 (40 teachers) during 1918-1930. Each of these schools continued serving until the vestiges of Jim Crow were dismantled. Aircraft hangers, banks, cemeteries, churches, courthouses, downtown districts, farms, hotels, houses, Indian mounds, lodges, plantations, post offices, railroad stations, stores, taverns, and theaters in our area are on the National Register and being protected. None of the 52 Rosenwald schools in Cumberland, Hoke, Lee, Montgomery, Robeson, and Scotland counties survived and are on the register for preservation. The Rosenwald school-building program helped many African-Americans gain an education that otherwise would not have been available. These relics of a painful past are part of American history and very prominent elements of our regional culture. Unfortunately, they continue to decline and become more endangered with each passing year. Rosenwald once said, “All the other pleasures of life seem to wear out, but the pleasure of helping others in distress never does.” How he helped others will continue to inspire us well into the future. It’s worth a drive to find a school that he funded (and show it to young family members). Editor’s Note: OutreachNC Magazine continues a bimonthly feature to explore places in our area that would pique our curiosity if we knew more about them.

Ray Linville writes about local connections to Southern food, history and culture. He can be reached at

Serving residents of Scotland, Robeson, Richmond and Hoke counties in North Carolina, as well as Marlboro, Dillon and Chesterfield counties in South Carolina. SEPTEMBER 2019 | 17



Help Make an Impact: Hunger Action Awareness Month by Laura Buxenbaum, MPH, RD, LDN

Hunger. Defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, hunger is a craving or urgent need for food or a specific nutrient. We have all experienced hunger. Yet, that feeling may have come because we worked through lunch, didn’t make time for breakfast, or ate dinner later than usual. But for many families across North Carolina, hunger is a constant, daily feeling brought on by a prolonged lack of food. According to Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, 1 in 7 people in North Carolina struggle with hunger, including 1 in 5 children who may not know where their next meal is coming from. Many of these individuals may be our neighbors, co-workers or our children’s classmates. For many, food insecurity is a constant; for others, it may be temporary due to job loss or other significant life changes.

As a Registered Dietitian, it is concerning to me that milk is one of the most requested, yet least available, items in a food bank. Milk is the top source for three of the nutrients most likely to be missing in a child’s dietcalcium, potassium and vitamin D. On average, food banks are only able to provide the equivalent of less than one gallon of milk per person, per year. However, families need more than one gallon per week to meet the United States Department of Agriculture recommendation of 3 servings for day, as outlined in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The good news is we can all make a difference when it comes to closing the hunger gap. This month consider these ways to get involved and reduce hunger in your community. • Volunteer your time and talent. Food banks rely on volunteers to help serve those struggling with hunger. Visit to learn about local volunteer opportunities in your area.

To help bring awareness to food insecurity and hunger across the country, Feeding America has recognized September as Hunger Action Awareness Month: A month to spread the word and take action against hunger. All families and individuals should have access to nourishing foods, despite their circumstances. After all, the foods we eat play an important role in maintaining good health. Feeding America statistics report that food insecurity can lead to Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity. Additionally, children at risk of hunger are more likely to be in poor health and less likely to reach their academic potential. Food banks across North Carolina and the nation are helping to build the foundation for good health by supplying more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy foods and lean proteins, thus increasing access to the foods everyone needs to stay healthy throughout their lifetime. 18 | SEPTEMBER 2019

• Participate in the “10 Gallon Challenge.” This is a great activity to do with as a family. Purchase 10 gallons of milk and deliver them together to your local food bank. The gallon of milk many of us consider a staple is missing on the tables of families facing hunger. • Donate online. Fill a child’s glass with cold milk by visiting Any size donation can help deliver fresh milk to a Feeding America food bank in your community. Or visit to learn ways your family, workplace and community organizations can support food banks in your area.

Laura Buxenbaum, MPH, RD, LDN is the Assistant Director of Food and Nutrition Outreach for The Dairy Alliance. She received her Master of Public Health at UNC Chapel Hill and has been working in dietetics for over 15 years. She can be reached at

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Tuesday, November 5, 2019 | 6pm – 8:30pm | Pine Needles Resort The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina at Sandhills would like to invite you to our Chef’s Feast event. The funds raised will provide food to the 40,090 food-insecure individuals in the Sandhills service area, in partnership with more than 98 partner agencies. Tickets are $60 until October 1 and $75 dollars from October 2 until the event. They are available online at and at the Sandhills branch, located 195 Sandy Avenue, Southern Pines, NC Monday through Friday from 8am to 4:30pm.

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The Christmas Spirits of Tradd Street by Karen White A long-anticipated gift to her fans, this holiday season Karen White will release her first ever Christmas novel: the newest installment in her beloved Charleston-set Tradd Street series, The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street. This event will be held at The Country Bookshop. Karen White’s books have been nominated for numerous national prizes including the SIBA (Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance) Fiction Book of the Year, and she has twice won the National Readers’ Choice Award. Many of her 25 novels have appeared on various bestseller lists: The New York Times, along with top rankings on the NYT ebook list, Bookscan, and USA Today.

Karen will be signing copies of her new book The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street on November 4th at 5:30 pm at the Country Bookshop 140 NW Broad Street | Southern Pines, NC 28387

As a special treat for ONC readers, Karen shared with us her mother’s Derby Pie recipe!

Mom’s Derby Pie Ingredients: • ¼ C butter (softened) • 1 C sugar • 3 eggs (beaten) • ¾ C White Karo syrup • ¼ t salt • 1 t vanilla • 1 T bourbon • ½ C chocolate chips • ½ C chopped pecans • 8” pie crust

Directions: 1. Cream butter, add sugar gradually. 2. Add beaten eggs, syrup, salt and vanilla. 3. Add chocolate, nuts and bourbon. 4. Stir well. 5. Pour into crust. 6. Bake at 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes. 7. Cool on wire rack. 20 | SEPTEMBER 2019



If It Ain’t Broke Don’t Fix It… Or, Do I?

by Shelby Grata, BSN, RN, CHC such as: pain between the shoulder blades, chest pressure, At some point in our lives we’ve more than likely felt a tightness, squeezing or discomfort, palpitations or skipped broken heart from a loss or disappointment. Heart disease is a “broken” or injured heart that can possibly be prevented beats of the heart, jaw/neck/teeth pain; indigestion/nausea/ gas-type pain, sweating, fatigue, shortness of breath; or, in if we have more information. Our hearts are performing for us daily; whether we know it women, feeling like your bra is too tight. or not. This magnificent organ provides blood supply and oxygen to all parts of our bodies. The healthy heart silently does its job throughout the lifetime only bringing attention when something is wrong. Knowing the risk factors for heart disease will help us protect this beating jewel.

There are some risk factors that can be changed or lessened, such as: • Overweight or Obesity • Inactivity • Stress • Smoking • Hypertension • High cholesterol • Diabetes There are also things that cannot be changed: • Family history • Race • Age • Birth gender Oftentimes, we are afraid or feel like we’re wasting our care provider’s time if we bring up our fears or concerns about things during an exam. If symptoms are minimized or ignored, trouble can be brewing. So, what can we do to have a meaningful conversation during a medical visit? Have a list ready: Writing things down will help prompt our minds not to forget what is important. Any symptoms

Technology: Many providers and facilities now have electronic communication through portals and e-mails. If there is more you want to ask, this is a great place to get it done. Second Opinion: It’s okay to research and seek other resources. If it upsets your provider, then that may be a red flag that it’s time for a new wellness team. Wellness is achieved through a team of healthcare providers. Education: Attend wellness visits and community outreach centers or events to learn what’s available to help navigate the healthcare system. Diseases and medication are overwhelming. Utilizing a health coach or chronic care manager is a great way to begin the process of understanding health and wellness.

Communicate: Don’t wait for a follow-up that’s already scheduled “down the road,” to discuss concerns. Pick up the phone and schedule a visit sooner rather than later. If you are in distress with the above symptoms, don’t wait to call 911. The saying: “It’s better to be safe than sorry!” are words to live by when it comes to the heart. Shelby Grata, BSN, RN, CHC is a Registered Nurse with experience in the hospital, home health, cardiology clinic, and cardiac rehabilitation settings. She currently works as a Certified Health Coach at Pinehurst Medical Clinic. For questions regarding Annual Wellness Visits, please call (910)235-3347.

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Understanding Veteran’s Survivor Benefits by Jim Pedersen, VSO & Director of Moore County Veterans Service Office

Through a variety of death benefit programs, the Veterans Administration assists widows and surviving family members following a veteran’s death. Death benefits may be one-time payments or ongoing payments that provide supplemental income to widows and dependents. Because benefits do not automatically start upon the veteran’s death, survivors must apply and provide the deceased veteran’s DD-214 (discharge paperwork) and a death certificate. Spouses will need their marriage certificate and surviving children will need a birth certificate. Divorced spouses do not qualify for death benefits. ONE-TIME PAYMENTS AND BENEFITS: Funeral costs: The VA will pay for a portion of an eligible veteran’s burial and funeral costs. Reimbursement is typically between $300 and $2,000 and a paid receipt from the funeral home is required upon application. The VA will deny a request for reimbursement if another agency reimbursed any portion of the funeral expenses. Survivors should keep in mind that this is a reimbursement program and does not cover any costs up front. Headstones/grave markers: Government headstones and grave markers noting a veteran’s service are available for any deceased veteran who received an honorable discharge or for any service member who died on active duty. Grave markers are not available to those who served in the National Guard or Reserves unless the veteran was called to active duty or he or she died during service or training. However, National Guard or Reserve retirees are entitled to the headstone/grave marker. NON-SERVICE CONNECTED DEATH PENSION: This pension is awarded to low-income surviving spouses and dependent children. The veteran must have met basic eligibility requirements for VA benefits but need not have received VA compensation or pension benefits before their death.

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The surviving spouse must meet Federal income requirements and show proof of marriage. Dependent children may be entitled to death pension benefits on their own merit if they meet income requirements, are not in the custody of the surviving spouse or if there is no surviving spouse. There is no time limit to apply for death pension. Survivors who are denied because they do not meet the income requirements can re-apply at a later date if their income drops below the limit. DEPENDENCY AND INDEMNITY COMPENSATION (DIC): DIC is a tax-free monthly payment available to eligible surviving spouses, children and dependent parents when the veteran’s death was service- connected. Dependent children under age 18, children between the ages of 18 and 23 who are attending an approved school may also qualify for DIC. Very rarely, low-income dependent parents may receive DIC. Survivors can qualify for DIC even if the veteran was not receiving disability payments for a service-connected condition. For example, survivors of a Vietnam veteran who died from prostate cancer, which is a service-connected condition related to Agent Orange exposure, may receive DIC payments even though the veteran did not receive disability payments for his prostate cancer. In some limited instances, the VA may award DIC when the veteran did not die from a service-connected disability. The deceased veteran must have had a 100% service-connected disability for at least 10 years prior to his death; had a 100% service-connected disability since separation from the service and died five or more years after separation; or was a POW who was receiving 100% compensation for at least one year before death. Survivor’s Pension is paid to surviving spouses and unmarried dependent children of wartime veterans. The surviving spouse must not have remarried and there are income and net worth limits for this program.

Living Simply Is Simply Marvelous At

In order for a surviving spouse to qualify for Survivor’s Pension, the veteran must have either: • Entered active duty on or before Sept. 7, 1980 and served at least 90 days active duty with at least one day during a wartime period;


• Entered active duty after Sept. 7, 1980 and served at least 24 months with at least one day during a wartime period; • Entered active duty after Oct. 16, 1991 and had not previously served on active duty for at least 24 months. RESTORED ENTITLEMENT PROGRAM FOR SURVIVORS (REPS) is a Social Security program administered by the VA that supplements benefits for survivors of veterans whose Social Security benefits were reduced or eliminated. Surviving spouses and children of veterans who died on active duty before Aug. 13, 1981 or who died after that date as a direct result of a service-connected disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty are eligible for REPS. For assistance filing a VA disability claim, contact the Moore County Veterans Service Office. One of the county’s three nationally-accredited Veterans Service Officers will help you prepare your claim, file it and guide you through the process from start to finish. In accordance with federal law, all services are free. Appointments are necessary and may be made by calling the office at 910-947-3257 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

VSO Jim Pedersen, right, is the director of the Moore County Veterans Service Office. Experienced nationally-certified VSOs Kelly Greene, and Robert “Bob” Hall, a Vietnam-era veteran who retired from the Army after 30 years of service, assist Moore County veterans with their disability claims.

If you’re looking for a way to simplify your life and retire in ease, an apartment at Scotia Village Retirement Community is the perfect choice. With floorplans ranging from 400 to 1,450 square feet, Scotia Village apartments combine convenience with comfort, offering the room you need and the uncluttered lifestyle you want. Best of all, you’ll be part of a community with plenty of things to do and new friends to make. We invite you to see our newly designed studio apartment, staged by Parker Furniture. To arrange a visit, call us at 910-266-5024.

S C OT I AV I L L AG E . O R G | 9 1 0 - 2 6 6 - 5 0 2 4 2 2 0 0 E L M AV E . , L AU R I N B U R G , N C A PRESBYTERIAN HOMES, INC. COMMUNITY

SEPTEMBER 2019 | PHI-18112 SV - OutreachNC Magazine_3.785x9.25_WALKING.indd 1 23 10/22/18

OutreachNC’s 2019

Book Club

This month, we take a lovely little break with a likable, intriguing protagonist named Vera Kelly. The setting skips around a bit, which might normally annoy us but is handled so well we are raving about Rosalie Knecht’s ability to weave her story together and build characters who are relatable, flawed and likable all at once. As we’re chock-full this month in OutreachNC, we’re keeping it light and breezy with

5 Thoughts on Who is Vera Kelly? 1. The title, Who Is Vera Kelly? seems obvious on paper but speaks to a deeper question in the end, which is how we like all of our questions: complex and fascinating. 2. The author, Rosalie Knecht is a social worker, which makes reading this novel next-level interesting for the perspective on people that seeps into each description, line of dialogue and witty detail. 3. Jeeves is still reading the novel and is begging me not to give away any endings or clues as to what might happen. He says he reads all his favorite books at a snail’s pace, which affords him the luxury of drawing out the pleasure. He’s giving Vera Kelly 4 stars thus far based on the writing alone. 4. As many who know me will attest, I’ve all but given up on most modern fiction. I have a theory that with the advent of computers, writing has become too fast and, thus, not at all nuanced. It’s rare that I rave over modern fiction, but Knecht has found a fan here in little ol’ Amy Phariss. I love the writing, the pacing, the characters, the inside thoughts, the outside descriptions and the way the story unfolds in a way that makes us care enough about the people and places to keep turning the pages. I agree with Jeeves: Who Is Vera Kelly? is my favorite book so far this year. 5. Knecht writes in that tight, sparse way that gives us enough detail to paint a picture but not so much as to bore us or beat us over the head with story. Page 60 offers an excellent example: “My mother was an elegant woman, but she had grown up in the pine barrens of northern Louisiana and east Texas, her father moving the family from year to year to follow the oil fields, and she could be hard. She beat me for bad grades, for the incident with the schnapps, for being mouthy and sad and not as tough as she was.” See? We don’t need to know the details about the schnapps because we all know about schnapps. That’s it for us this month. We’re looking forward to Leslie Jamison’s The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath for October. Though it certainly sounds like a serious read, it also sounds important and timely, given our focus the next few months on the opioid epidemic and the overall state of addiction and recovery in our country. We’re interested to read, explore, discuss and hear thoughts. We love sharing books with everyone and anyone who’s got a review, comment, thought, critique or favorite quote to send along. Feel free to write to us at and let us know your thoughts on Knecht’s intriguing story. 24 | SEPTEMBER 2019


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Humbled and Renewed: Habitat for Humanity’s Hardcore Volunteers Share Stories, Inspiration and The Why Behind Their Hard Work by Amy Phariss On any given day, during the muggy Carolina summers or the sunshine-filled fall days, teams of volunteers can be found throughout the Sandhills swinging hammers, rolling paint and installing cabinetry in houses they don’t own and will never live in. These volunteers work, however, with the zest and enthusiasm of first-time homeowners not for themselves but for the communities 26 | SEPTEMBER 2019

in which they live and serve. Known as Habitat Hardcore Volunteers, these men and women help build homes and serve the community through a myriad of positions with Habitat for Humanity of the Sandhills. From sorting through donated items at Habitat’s ReStore shop to volunteering with community outreach and fundraising campaigns,

Hardcore Volunteers are committed to volunteering regularly, to showing up and digging in not just for the benefit of the people and community they serve but, it turns out, for their own sense of community, belonging and the feeling that comes after a day’s work and a job well done. Habitat Hardcore Volunteer Jim, who works regularly at construction sites for new builds, says, “You feel proud of what you’ve done. You give back and have fun and learn at the same time. It’s a win-win.” Perhaps the idea of learning is one of the least expected and misunderstood aspects of volunteering later in life. When many of us think of volunteering our time, service or resources, we think of what we have to offer the community. We might consider skills we’ve developed in our professional lives or built through hobbies and life experience. We might consider helping people become financially solvent through education if we’ve worked in the finance industry in our professional lives or teach ESL if we have a teaching degree, for example. However, volunteering is also a wonderful opportunity for the volunteers themselves to learn new skills and develop new interests during a time of life when many of us aren’t necessarily expecting to be back in the student’s seat. Jim says, “You’ve got to step out of your comfort zone, but if you do, people can teach you new skills.” Jim, who moved to the Sandhills from Washington DC, barely knew the difference between a screwdriver and a hammer when he started volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. As a new retiree, Jim was spending his days golfing, a dream he’d had for his retirement for years. After a few weeks, however, he realized he didn’t want to play golf every day, and he began considering volunteering as a way to add dimension to his retirement. Now, at 67, Jim has learned more than he ever thought possible about construction, carpentry, electrical work and more. As he says, “You learn what doesn’t work; then you learn what does work. I can show you what we’ve done. There is a lot of satisfaction in seeing an end product. There’s nothing like going to a dedication.” A dedication of a new home is one of the highlights for many Habitat volunteers, when they’re able to come together as a community and dedicate the home to its new family. The process takes 18 months to two years to complete for home owners. Habitat does not give

away houses, which is a common misconception about Habitat’s mission. Habitat provides an affordable low interest mortgage for future homeowners. It’s a process of financial education and development as well as literal sweat equity, and home owners put in 300 hours of work on the home per person before completing the process. For volunteers, seeing the completion of a home and the dedication to a new family really brings the work full-circle. One child wrote Jim a letter expressing her thanks and what her new home meant for her on dedication day, which he still keeps as a memento and reminder of how important and valuable this work is. He says, “It’s a very humbling experience.” Other misconceptions exist regarding volunteering, and Rosemary Weber, who serves as Habitat’s Volunteer Manager, says one of the largest obstacles in recruiting volunteers is good old-fashioned fear. People fear they don’t have the skills necessary to work on a home build. People fear the commitment of volunteering will be Draconian or inflexible. Finding a good match between skills, interests and time is another fear many wouldbe volunteers have, which keeps people from exploring richly rewarding volunteer opportunities. Weber, and the team of Hardcore Volunteers with whom we spoke, are quick to dispel such myths. As Jim notes above, not having construction skills didn’t stop him from working on building sites and from learning the skills necessary to give back. Several volunteers rotated through a few positions with Habitat, from office work to ReStore service, before finding a good fit. Cathy, who retired from the automobile industry and now volunteers in the ReStore, says Habitat works hard to fit volunteers with interests and skills. When describing her volunteer experience, she uses three words: fun, fantastic and social. The social aspect of volunteering is another topic that comes up time and again when speaking with Habitat’s Hardcore Volunteers. Jim, who has worked with and learned a great deal from fellow volunteer Frank (who is 82 years old) says, “You become friends. I would never have met Frank or been friends otherwise.” There is a definite vibe of friendship and community within the volunteer circle at Habitat. The volunteers talk about what they’ve learned from each other, how they’ve helped each other and how volunteering has expanded their social circle to include people they might have never met or known otherwise. Yet another volunteer SEPTEMBER 2019 | 27

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dimension at Habitat, the Muffin Mamas are a great example of how Habitat’s volunteers combine kinship, work and support for each other as well as the community. Bringing homemade snacks for the building teams, the Muffin Mamas are a welcome sight on any build. From muffins to cinnamon rolls to coffee and other treats, the Muffin Mamas bring a bit of sweetness and respite from long hours on site, as teams take a break and enjoy a baked good or snack before picking up the hammer once again. The Muffin Mamas are a great example of combining the skills and interests of volunteers with the needs of an organization in a way that is outside-the-box yet still relevant and beneficial for everyone involved. Another fear of many would-be volunteers, quickly dispelled by not only staff but also fellow Habitat volunteers, is that someone is ‘too old’ to volunteer. Rosemary Weber quickly lists several volunteers who are not only well past 80 years old (several volunteers are still going strong into their 90s) but also hitting the nail on the head right alongside younger counterparts, often mentoring them along the way. Weber says, “The senior population has so much to offer....reliability, dedication, responsibility and a strong work ethic.”

Add to this past life experiences (professional and otherwise), and the senior population is a solid, driving force in the volunteer community. At the end of the day, the volunteers say they’re renewed.


As we embrace our second 50 years and all of the adventure and new life they breathe, this is perhaps the best feeling of all.


For more information about volunteering with Habitat for Humanity of the Sandhills, contact Rosemary Weber at 910-295-1934 or via email at For more information regarding Habitat for Humanity as a nationwide organization and to learn more about their mission and focus, visit

Sept. 23.

Ryley Osentoski, at 919-708-1639

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A Second Chance To HelpThe World by Jonathan Scott

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Robert McManus had a long commute to his job in hazardous material management. While cruising down the interstate one bright morning while listening to the radio, he had a vision. “When I call it a vision,” he says, “I mean it in the classic sense — I saw myself as a nurse. No sound other than the radio accompanied it, but what I had to do was clear to me.” When he reached the office he went up to his bosses and gave notice. After he told them why, one shot back, “I always thought there was something funny about you.” But there was nothing funny about McManus’ determination. That night he downloaded college admission forms for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Returning to college to study nursing in his late forties was challenging for this engineering-minded man. He moved in with his sister and brother-in-law in Shelby and supported his education by working for someone half his age in a job for which he was far over qualified. “I held onto the big picture,” he says. “I came to enjoy the physical work and most of the younger people who worked alongside me.” McManus finally completed his Bachelor of Nursing at the University of South Carolina. His work led him to serve in an Urgent Care and later in an Emergency Room setting with the Veterans Administration. It was here that he found the fulfillment of his original vision on the highway. Being a veteran himself, McManus has had special kinship with his patients.

“The privilege and burden of caring for my brothers and sisters that had served, many scarred for life internally, externally, and mentally made every day an opportunity to show kindness, empathy, and swap a few jokes,” he says. “It’s true that a patient may not know your name but they will remember what you did for them and how you made them feel.” Richard Brown never had an epiphany. There was no single moment when the idea of a second career came to him. It arrived more like an inner nagging, occasionally reminding him that this world is rife with problems, and, although he was retired, he still had a great deal to offer to it.

Also a South Carolina native, Brown started his working life teaching, but soon took a job with what was then called Southern Bell, a career that took him several places across the South and finally to North Carolina where he retired after 35 years. During those years he managed marketing and yellow page advertising. In the late 90s, he was involved with the launch of the digital wireless revolution. Brown’s first attempt to see what kind of contribution he might make in retirement led him to do substitute teaching and mentoring with middle schoolers. But the nagging feeling didn’t go away. “I kept feeling there was more,” says the distinguished-looking 71-year old. “One day I was talking with a friend and he asked me, ‘What are you really interested in?’ I told him I wanted to be in a field where I could do more for people.” Articulating his nagging feeling into words led Brown to the Human Services Technology (HST) Program, currently in its final year, at Sandhills Community College. “It had been a long time since I’d been in a college classroom, but I was curious enough to investigate. I met with Trish Harris and told her my concerns. There’s a big difference between being in school at 68 and being in school at 18. She said not to worry; they had all shapes and sizes of student. She suggested I sign up for just one class and see how I liked it. I wound up taking two courses that first semester and fell in love with the work.” Most people look on their retirement as a chance to lessen life’s challenges. Brown isn’t one of them. During his studies, he decided to take on one of the toughest problems facing us as a society—addiction. The HST Program offered a specialization in substance abuse and, despite the difficulties dealing with substance abuse, Brown embraced the curriculum wholeheartedly. He excelled to the extent that he wound up tutoring other students in the program and even some nursing students. Then one day, Carol Hoffman, the Director of the HST Program, contacted Brown with some news. A local facility treating opioid addiction was looking for a counselor. Today Brown is a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor. He works four days a week helping people struggling with an opioid addiction, individually and in groups. He SEPTEMBER 2019 | 31

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typically is faced with someone who had been prescribed opioid medication for pain or surgical recovery, became dependent and, after he or she was no longer able to obtain it legally, turned to the black market or illegal drugs to help them cope. “There are always consequences connected with substance abuse,” says Brown. “Often we have to help people remold their lives.

“I think the key component, both for the people we’re providing for and for the providers is hope. Many times these folks have lost hope. When somebody comes in, I have hope I can help them do what they need to do. I hope I can instill in them hope. Hope for a better tomorrow.” Brown is by nature too modest to maintain such lofty language. “I used to work on making this world better by trying to improve my tennis backhand,” he jokes, “But we all have a responsibility. I’d tell retired people that they can still learn new things. A lot of people have gifts they don’t know they have.” The impetus for Kerry Goldman’s second career was neither an epiphany nor a subtle nagging voice. It was the loud call of financial necessity. Goldman had worked for a while in business, then devoted herself to raising a family. In the recession of 2008, her husband lost his job. Then the market value of the luxurious home they owned in Boca Raton collapsed. They were counting on the sale of that property to finance their move to North Carolina. “My husband and I once looked around and thought we had everything, but it all changed. In no time we went through all our savings.” The couple wound up divorcing. Goldman, who had never finished college, decided she needed more education to survive. But she realized that if she was going to invest all that time, effort, and money, she wanted it to be toward something meaningful. In words she could have borrowed from Richard Brown, she says, “I knew I wanted to help people.” The journey took her to The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. As it happened, she had a daughter who had moved to the area to also study at Pembroke. “She told me it would be fun to go to school together,” says Goldman. She adds, laughing,

“I told her that walking across campus next to your Mom and her rolling suitcase would be social suicide.”

Now, at age 66, with both a Bachelor and Master of Social Work, Goldman is fulfilling her desire to help people. She is a Special Instructor at Moore Pediatric Therapy Service. She works with infants and toddlers who have developmental or medical challenges. And, equally important, she works with those who care for these vulnerable children—parents and grandparents. “It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done,” she says. Marc Freedman is the founder and CEO of the website, whose slogan is ‘Second acts for the greater good.’ He has a high-octane type of optimism. His organization works to inspire people to devote some of their senior years to train for, and find, roles working for the greater good. The goal, Freedman says, is that “those over 50 will help solve some of our biggest social problems.” Freedman and his associates are working to do this in a number of ways. Together with Stanford University, they’ve published research demonstrating the current trend of Boomers to keep working as well as their trend to seek a purpose in life outside themselves. They found that the “majority of older adults exhibit high levels of prosocial values and behaviors, such as helping and caring for others, caring for nature and the environment, endorsing equal treatment for all, and seeking to understand people who are different from themselves.” In the context of such optimism for ourselves and our world, it might unexpectedly be glam-rocker David Bowie who articulated what could be our greatest hope as individuals. “Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been.”

Marci Alboher is Vice President of Strategic Communicationis for Her book, The Encore Career Handbook: How to Make a Living and a Difference in the Second Half of Life is available from Ms. Alboher also offers a free online course that can help you “discover the essentials involved in exploring the possibilities of an encore career.” It can be found at www. SEPTEMBER 2019 | 33

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An Interview with Amy Natt, Aging Outreach Services President & CEO by Amy Phariss | Photography by Mollie Tobias & Morgan Masson

SEPTEMBER 2019 | 35

Twenty years ago, newly-landed in Moore County from Oklahoma, Amy Natt quit her job at a long term care facility and announced to her family, “I’m starting my own business. There has to be a better way to care for older adults as they age. I’m going to find it.” Two decades later, Amy and her staff run an elder care firm advocating for older adults, connecting those who wish to age in place and in the comfort of their homes with caregivers, identifying community resources, and developing individualized care plans to make this possible. It is consumer directed care, at its best, driven by the individual’s desires and vision of aging. From the nitty-gritty details of running a business to lobbying in Washington D.C. on behalf of caregivers and seniors, to publishing this very magazine as a means of providing resources for the community, Amy Natt has followed her passion of helping older adults live life on their own terms. Whether it’s navigating a crisis, finding the perfect caregiving situation, linking clients with services or advocating on behalf of the community, Natt believes not only in her mission of helping adults age in place and secure quality care in individual situations, but also that her role as a business owner and mentor fill her personal need to give back to the community, mentor other professionals and leave a legacy of her own. Amy Natt sat down with OutreachNC’s editor Amy Phariss for a glass of wine and a chat about where her passion for aging on one’s own terms comes from, how she sees her role in this arena and what she hopes to achieve through her community involvement and support. This interview has been edited for length. Amy Phariss: How did you get into this field? Amy Natt: Experiences growing up. Both of my grandmothers lived in Illinois, and during summers 36 | SEPTEMBER 2019

we went and stayed with them. My great-grandmother, Little Grandma, and I shared a June birthday. Every summer we spent our birthdays together. When I was 12 or 13, Little Grandma (Winifred) was placed in a nursing home. That had a really big impact on me. Then, during summers, we would go visit LG in the nursing home. We would do arts and crafts and eat together. I would write to her, and she would take my letters and flip them over and she would write them back. In retrospect, she probably had Alzheimer’s or dementia, but at the time I only knew she had hardening of the parties (arteries). Then in college, I was studying family relations and child development, but I felt drawn to older adults like my grandmother. I realized I could focus on gerontology, so I did that. I had no idea what I could possibly do with that degree, but it felt right to me. I wanted a graduate degree, and I got into Oklahoma State University, which had a graduate degree in gerontology. Nobody even really knew what it was. OSU was one of the few schools that even had the program. When I graduated, nobody knew what I’d actually majored in. I was 23 and engaged to my oldest son’s dad who got a job in North Carolina with Purdue Farms. We moved here, not knowing it was a retirement community. I tried to find a job, but nobody really wanted someone with a gerontology degree. They all wanted social workers, and I wasn’t a social worker and didn’t want to be one. I ended up teaching aerobics and slowly began working within the community. I was an activity director in a long term care facility and then I was working as a director for a start-up Alzheimer’s unit. One day, I quit my job and decided to start my own business. I was pregnant with my first child, and my husband looked at me like I was crazy. My dad lived in Florida at the time and was sending me brochures about care management, which was a big deal in Florida. I read about it and thought: I can do that. So, I did.

AP: What was it about the nursing home experience with your grandmother that impacted you so much? AN: It was how depressing it was to me as a child, to watch someone I loved go from a home environment to a facility setting. At the time facilities could still restrain people. I don’t know why they restrained her, but at times they did. Perhaps it was for her own safety, but it was still hard to see. Nursing facilities today are greatly improved but it is still difficult to see loved ones make that transition. When I worked in a similar setting, I realized a lot of care delivered was driven by meeting minimum state requirements or insurance reimbursement criteria. The budget and the staffing and what insurance would cover was often a significant factor in the care provided. Some days I would go home in tears, frustrated. It was like experiencing what I saw in my childhood with my grandmother but from another side. I felt helpless at times. I felt helpless with my grandmother and then again in the facilities as an employee. I realized there had to be a way to improve the quality of the aging experience. AP: What has surprised you most about this field and about working with older adults and their families? AN: I think it’s how unique everyone’s story is. When you get to know people on the individual level, you see how rich and unique their lives have been. The stories and the things I’ve learned from the people along the way was surprising. It’s easy to forget the human part of it when you work in a nursing home, but even now, in people’s homes, you get to know people and their families. Maybe it’s not such a surprise but more of an underlying benefit of what I do; I get to know people on a more human, personal level. AP: What is the biggest misconception about older adults?

forget the life they’ve lived and the experiences they’ve had that have led them to where they are. You just see the person in front of you. You think they’re not engaged or with the same drives and desires, but if you sit and talk to them, the 90 year-old has the same desires as younger people; we just don’t acknowledge them anymore. AP: What do you think we can do as a society to make better environments for older people? AN: I think it’s treating them as individuals and allowing for plans and treatments created for the individual, sometimes outside of the box. If you look at other cultures, there seems to be more respect for the elderly than there sometimes is in ours.  I’m a huge fan of intergenerational interaction. The young learn from the older adults and vice versa. I’d like to see more of that.  Also, we’re living so long in our society, it’s difficult to balance quality with quantity. People are living well beyond 90, so how do we continue quality care for so long? And as families are spread out, it makes it more of a challenge.  AP: What can family members do to help older adults? AN: Talk about it. Prepare for it. Don’t wait until there is a crisis. People often go crisis to crisis instead of planning ahead for a loved-one’s care.  AP: What would you say older adults are most excited about? AN: I think it depends on the person. That’s the problem. You can’t stereotype people into a category. Some people are excited to slow down if they worked a lot and had a busy life. Some are excited to spend time with family and loved ones. Some are excited to give back to society. That’s the issue: it depends on the individual person’s values. 

AN: I think we look at them and don’t see them. We SEPTEMBER 2019 | 37

38 | SEPTEMBER 2019

AP: What are they most afraid of?

consider the person and his or her choice.

AN: I think some of them are afraid that they haven’t left their mark. They haven’t contributed what they’d hoped for. They fear what happens next, what they can’t control. Grief can often be involved, and a lot of that grief is unsettled. 

AP: If you could sum up your work in three adjectives, what would they be?

AP: What are some of the struggles family members have with older family members? How have you seen children and grandchildren deal with it better than others? AN: I think siblings and spouses process differently, so some siblings may think about the financial aspects, or emotional issues, etc. Siblings end up fighting and there is family conflict. You see conflicts about money and financial exploitation and abuse. I think money can bring out the worst in people, so if you come to the end of a person’s life and there is a cost attached to that, it can be divisive. In today’s society, when family structures are less traditional (divorce, distance, re-marriage, etc.), it can be a challenge to decide what’s best for a parent. It’s different from the days when mom and dad were on the family farm and would stay at home and be cared for by the family as a whole. It’s different now, and with that change comes some challenges. My favorite outcome is when we see families and adult children put what the older adult wants first, above what the kids want, what money dictates, etc. You see some really neat situations where families are willing to come together to provide care and let the older person age the way they want even if the kids don’t necessarily agree with it. When other people forgo their opinions to allow for the loved-one to age in their own way.  I have loved to see adults who live their way, on their own terms. Those are the people who stick with me.  Safety is always a concern. Safety and wellbeing always have to be considered, but family members have to also

AN: Challenging, rewarding and human. I problem solve. It’s like a big puzzle. It’s someone’s life, and I get to have an impact on how it ends. I play a role in someone’s story, and the weight of that isn’t lost on me. I want to get it right and honor the person. It takes a lot of creativity to help someone end the story on their own terms, but to me that’s success. I deal with challenging problems, which is rewarding and, at the end of the day, it’s all about the human, the person, the individual. The stories that stick with me are two kinds: the ones who get to live on their own terms until the end or the ones where a family member won’t let that happen. Both stick with me. It’s really hard to watch situations to see people not have control, not live out the end of their lives on their own terms. If you ask 10 different people how they want to live out the end of their lives, you’re going to get 10 different answers.  One of the experiences that stuck with me the most or had the biggest impact was being with someone at the end of life as they took their last breath. It’s a compelling and profound experience. Seeing someone pass on has been, curiously, one of the best experiences, knowing you can be there, can be with someone in that pivotal moment. It’s powerful.  Touch is a very powerful thing at the end of life. A lot of people forget how important touch is. Older people still have the same needs and desires. Something as simple as putting lotion on someone’s hand can matter. Just sitting with someone, holding their hand, becomes really important. It gives each person a sense of consecutiveness and belonging.  I can remember a few people who I’ve been with at the end of life, giving them permission to let go, reminding SEPTEMBER 2019 | 39

them that they have been loved, that they have lived well and that they can go. Each of us has a certain calling in life. I’m very type-A and business-minded, but at the end of the day, my passion is for this population, and this is the path I am called to take. I am a huge believer in the fact that if you know you can make a living by working with your passion or your calling, that’s the best way to live, to make a difference doing what you’re called to do.   AP: What have you learned from following this calling? AN: To follow your dream and your passion and love what you do. If you are going to have a career that will span 20+ years, you have to love what you do. The hidden part of my career is mentoring other young people who want to work in a field they’re passionate about, to go to work every day feeling empowered and good about their work. It’s important to me to create and foster an environment where people feel empowered to follow their passions. I lucked out that I have enjoyed both being a business woman and working in gerontology. It’s hard work. I sacrificed. But I feel really lucky.  

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by Crissy Neville SEPTEMBER 2019 | 45

What do you care about? What issues make you stop and think? The passions that drive you may not be what pay your bills or match the diplomas on your walls, but they say a lot about your heart and who you are. As Winston Churchill aptly said,

“You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.” So, where do you give your time and talents, or where do you wish to do so? For most people, home and work take the most energy and skill but community volunteer work is not to be discounted either. In fact, it may count the most of all. Do your heartstrings feel a pull at the site of a stray? If so, volunteer at the local animal shelter. Do you cringe to see trash on the highways or waterways? The solution: get involved in environmental clean-ups and beautification. Have you, or a loved one, been affected by a condition or disease? Work to be part of the solution, if you can. The list goes on, but you may ask, how do I find the right fit for me? Where am I most needed? In what area can I do the most good? These are all good questions. To begin to find answers, first identify your passion. Points of Light, an advocacy and volunteerism group founded by the late President George H. W. Bush, has identified a list of some of today’s biggest issues. These causes are in need of volunteers both across the nation and across the street. Consider each and choose the five that stand out the most to you and rank them accordingly, or add your own area of interest to the list.

46 | SEPTEMBER 2019



Civil rights

Human rights

Community revitalization


Disaster relief

People with disabilities

Domestic abuse



Racial wealth divide


Recreation sports



Health care


Health-related issues

Women Youth

SEPTEMBER 2019 | 47

In addition to identifying your passion, consider what you enjoy doing, what you would like to accomplish, and how much time you have to devote to volunteering. Giving careful thought to these considerations before responding with a “yes” or “sign me up” may save you from making a hasty decision or wrong choice about where to donate your free time. Next, if you are ready to begin, see what opportunities exist. Research volunteerism in your local area to find out if churches, civic groups, nonprofits, government agencies and other organizations have organized volunteer efforts already happening. Some places, such as hospitals and schools, have resources such as volunteer coordinators and volunteer training sessions to assist individuals looking to plug in. Another way to match your interests and desires with volunteer service is to search the web. Some internet sites that can assist the process are,, and VolunteerMatch is the largest network in the nonprofit world, enabling volunteers to connect to specific charities such as Special Olympics, Hospice, 4-H, Girl Scouts, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Likewise, at JustServe, the volunteer needs of organizations are posted to allow individuals to search for places to serve in the community. All for Good is a service of Points of Light which acts as a database for volunteer opportunities around the world. Connect with agencies such as Idealist, AARP, United Way, the Hands-on Network, and others that inspire and rely on volunteers. The All for Good platform also helps individuals host volunteer projects and find volunteers to help with their goodwill endeavors. To utilize your professional skills to assist others, look to a unique volunteer matching service like On the site, volunteeropportunity seekers filter through opportunities based on cause area, skillset, and time commitment to find the best options. Choices range from a 1-hour phone call to a 3-month pre-planned project, or start your own. At the state level, the North Carolina Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service (NCCVCS) is the go-to agency for all things volunteer. Created in 1994, the commission promotes service and volunteering to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement in the state. The commission manages the state-wide Governor’s Page Program for youth, AmeriCorps, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund and provides information on service opportunities via their website Caroline Farmer, Executive Director of the NCCVCS suggests individuals seeking to volunteer start their search at the local level to see how they can assist in their own towns and communities. She also likes for individuals to reflect on their interests and abilities. “I encourage those wishing to volunteer to look at their best skills and to go with their strengths,” she said. “Whatever you are good at can be used in volunteer service. If, for example, you like and are good at quilting, you can volunteer to make a quilt for a charity raffle. If you want to assist with 48 | SEPTEMBER 2019

disaster relief but have physical limitations, you can volunteer at the phone center or to answer calls in your home. There are still disaster relief needs right now. There are so many ways to get involved.” Linda Gibbs is a retired judge and a good example of one who spends time volunteering in pursuits that interest her. She is a volunteer gardener and plant propagator at the Weymouth House and a volunteer road whip with Moore County Hounds, both in Southern Pines.

“I love to garden and I love hounds, especially when at full cry,” she explained. “When I volunteer, I get to work closely with other people with the same interests as me and do things I enjoy.” The commission also promotes the nation-wide September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance. The designation is the result of efforts, originally launched in 2002 that, according to the mission statement, promotes community service on September 11 as an annual and forwardlooking tribute to the victims, survivors, and those who served that day. The website for this effort is Information about volunteer opportunities are posted on the site. If you choose to serve this day, show your support on social media with the hashtag #911Day and share pictures of your participation. In similar fashion, taking place the third Monday in January of each year, the Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service, dubbed a “day on, not a day off.” Find out more about this event at and if you volunteer on MLK Day this year, share your involvement using the hashtag #MLKDay. These single days of service, may be just the ticket to exploring your interests, seeing what volunteers do in different realms, and testing the waters before making a long-term volunteer commitment. And on top of that, you get to make a difference, too. Whether you are just getting started on the volunteer path or have blazed a trail for years, congratulate yourself for holding in esteem one of the most cherished of American values. You are in good company with 77.4 million other Americans who have volunteered in recent years. By giving back to others you may find you improve your own life, too, making it a win-win situation for all. SEPTEMBER 2019 | 49

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by th e

The Opioid Epidemic b e r m s u n

States with the highest prescribing rates for opioids include Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana, while states with the lowest prescribing rates include Minnesota, California, New York, Hawaii and the District of Columbia. States with higher opioid prescribing rates also have higher rates of adults over 30 raising grandchildren with Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi among the highest rates.


The opioid epidemic is one of the most common reasons grandparents are raising grandchildren across the nation. In communities hit hard by the opioid epidemic, more children are dependent on relatives for care. In Ohio, for example, the number of children foster care placed with relatives | SEPTEMBER 2019 has gone up 62% since 2010.


The number of people that die from opioid use every day in NC. In the United States, the number rises to 100 people each day.

63% The percentage of people who overdose that are male (compared to 37% that are female).

11.4 MILLION The number of people that misuse prescription opioids.

80% Approximate percentage of people who use heroin ďŹ rst misued prescription opioids.

2K The number of North Carolinians that died of an opioid overdose in 2017. Up 32% from 2016.




The percentage of opioid overdose deaths in NC that are among White persons.

$70 BILLION The CDC estimated economic cost of opioid misuse per year.

Opioid overdoses kill more Americans than gun violence or automobile crashes.


NC has the second highest rate of overdose deaths in the US according to the CDC.

2129% Approximate percentage of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain that misuse them.

2017 The year the opioid crisis was declared a public health emergency. In the United States, every 25 minutes, SEPTEMBER 2019 | 53 a baby is born with an opioid addiction.

54 | SEPTEMBER 2019


IT COULD BE ANYONE. by Amy Phariss

Last year, when I began exploring the role of Editor of OutreachNC Magazine, I asked just about anyone I could find to figure out what people wanted to read and talk about. I was surprised when the issue of the opioid epidemic came up often. In fact, nearly everyone I spoke with touched on the subject and the way it affects each of us, individually and collectively. People literally reached out and put a hand on my arm and said, “Please. Write about this crisis. We have to talk about it.” I am ashamed to admit that when I thought of drug use and addiction, I thought mostly of young people at parties, raging with little pills of Ecstasy or smoking marijuana around a bonfire at the beach. Coming from Texas, where a girl doesn’t do drugs if she wants to date good ol’ ranch boys, I never smoked pot, and the one time I was offered cocaine the look on my face was answer enough. In fact, I was openly judgmental about drug use, blaming addiction on poor personal choices, lack of self-respect and a complete disregard for the effects of said use on loved ones. I figured if people wanted to stop using drugs, it was a simple decision, much like the decision to start using them in the first place, and I felt galled by the idea that addiction might require social services, patience or second chances (let alone thirds and fourths). Then, because the world is ironic and people often need to learn lessons the hard way, my brother became addicted to opioids. I could write for months about that experience, about the emotional roller coaster of loving someone struggling with addiction, about the feelings of helplessness when you can’t save someone you love, and about the ultimate humility I found when I stopped judging my brother and started loving him at his worst instead of praying for him to be his best. As I began researching this subject, I reached out to people in our community for information, and it was like a domino effect. Each person knew another person who knew another person...and on it went. I interviewed people in recovery from addiction. I spoke with spouses, children, employers and community health workers, all about how this epidemic has seeped into each of our lives in a myriad of ways, from the mother who lost her son to an overdose to the husband who watched his wife change before his eyes to the young man who followed in his parents’ footsteps of addiction and finally found his way out.

SEPTEMBER 2019 | 55

We begin with the story of a Pinehurst woman who lost her beloved son, Alex, to an opioid overdose two years ago. Over the course of a hot North Carolina afternoon, Stephanie shared with me not only Alex’s story but also her own story, which has its own nuance and detail. So often we view the opioid crisis through the lens of how it affects the person using drugs, but the family members and loved ones have stories of their own, and addiction affects us all, albeit it in different and unique ways. Stephanie’s story allows us to step for a moment into the shoes of a mother whose son’s life became gripped by addiction and ultimately ended in tragedy. We are incredibly grateful for her bravery in sharing. This interview has been edited for length. Amy Phariss: Tell us about your son, Alex. Stephanie: Alex was my son from my first marriage, and then I had four children with my second husband, so I have a total of six children. Alex was a buffer. He was the oldest boy. My ex, my second husband, wanted Alex to be manly and tough, to play football and do all these things. That wasn’t who he was; however, he would try. He never added up. He never felt he was good enough. Alex started experimenting at the age of 13. He had a hard time connecting with people. Looking back I see several things. I think he had some depression issues. I think it was part of his personality. It was the situation. He never felt safe with other people, so he pretended and then he started acting out. He felt accepted by those who were using and doing drugs. Going from marijuana to the age of 18, I had to kick him out of the house. He’d been stealing...lying... AP: Was he ever abusive to you? S: No. Never. He was never disrespectful. He would lie to your face. He’d steal from you, with a smile on his face. When he was kicked out, he moved in with a girl. I’d never met her. I get a phone call one evening, and she is frantic on the phone saying that Alex had just been dropped off, literally pushed out of the car at their apartment. Back then, they were afraid that because they’d been using too, they would get in trouble. That’s still a stigma, even though that’s not true anyone. I get to the hospital and sit there for 45 minutes, not being allowed to see him. Finally, I begged, and I get back there. He’s in restraints, still high as a kite. I touched his forehead, and just said, “Alex.” When he heard my voice, he just went limp. Collapsed. They couldn’t get an IV in. 56 | SEPTEMBER 2019

He’d had a massive heart attack. He’d been using opana. At that point, I said: you have a choice. You can go back out on the streets or I will help you go into rehab. He went to a place in Raleigh. He cried every day. He finally just left. He came home, and I said: you’ve got to go someplace. Through a dear friend, I got him into Samaritan Colony. They couldn’t get him in for a week, so we took him to a safe house.  He wavered the whole time. I know I need to go. I don’t want to go. He was so scared. 

In hindsight, looking back, and if I were to tell a parent today, I don’t know that I would have made him go because he wasn’t ready. He did come out of the clouds for four months, after he left Samaritan Colony. He went through the program. He was just…seeing him that clean…I had not seen him that clean and alive since he was 13. Samaritan’s Colony has several halfway houses. He was assigned to the one in SP/Aberdeen. Again, I would never recommend someone going back to the neighborhood and into the town….it’s just too easy for them to fall back into bad habits. Alex left the halfway house early, to live in my ex-husband’s house. When that didn’t work out, he had nowhere to go. Amy Phariss: Did you think about taking him in? S: I couldn’t. I had four small children at home. I knew that he was so fresh out of recovery and it was not a good situation. He needed to go back to the halfway house, but because of the way he left, they wouldn’t take him back. He started drinking again. It was because he was there [in rehab] for me. It wasn’t his decision. We’d bought him a car. He was living out of his car for 6 months. To this day, I hate going to Walmart. I would go to Walmart, and his car was off to the side. I knew he was either coming off a high or getting high.  AP: Did you ever go to the car? S: Oh yeah. When he was passed out, you couldn’t wake him up.  We stayed close though. He would lie and say he wasn’t using. He would get odd jobs. He’d try to find work.

One day he called and said he wanted to go back to Samaritan Colony. He did the program again. This time they sent him to a halfway house in Dunn. I thought it was perfect. He was away from our neighborhood. Little did I know it was close to Fayetteville and his drug dealer. He was there for a few months. He got a job. Things are going well. He meets a girl. She gets pregnant. He leaves the halfway house and they got married, even though I said he needed to stay at the halfway house. He seemed to do well during his wife’s pregnancy. I wondered if he was using again. But when his daughter was born, she was the light of his life. I had so much hope.  After a while, all that stress (new baby, work, wife), he starts using. He’s lying to his wife, to me, to his father. It caused a lot of hurt feelings between his wife and me. I’d call him out on things. He would stay out. He’d come home high.  In April of 2017 I get a phone call. Alex OD’d. He’s on the way to the hospital. He had another heart attack.  I said: wow, he’s overdosed twice. His wife got quiet.  It was his 5th time.  On June 2nd, at 10:30 in the morning his wife calls crying and says, “Alex is dead.” He’d been using cocaine, and he had 19% fentanyl in his system.  Amy Phariss: What did you feel when you found out he’d died? S: So….I’m a survivor. I’ve had a lot of tragedy in my life. Probably more than most. I went into survival mode. My first and number one thought was: I’ve got to get to the kids. Fortunately, I was able to tell each of them by themselves. Then I went home and told the two younger ones. Two weeks after Alex died, his wife found out she was pregnant again.  Let me tell you, it has been the biggest blessing. His first daughter, Ella Grace, she is a ball of sass. Alex just lit up - when he talked about her, was with her, held her. He loved that child. He would play with her, lay in bed with her. Maddie is now 1. She is a mini-Alex. She looks like

him. She is quiet like he was. She has his piercing blue eyes. The kids are polar opposites but they compliment each other so much. AP: How is the relationship between you and his wife now? We have worked through everything. You make a decision. Are you going to let things fester? We have worked it out. We have a good relationship to this day. I get to see the kids often, at least once a week, which is great.  AP: What do you remember most about Alex? S: He was such a southern gentleman. I always told him he would have done well in Charleston. He had swagger. He could melt people. He just had that charm about him.   AP: Do you think his charm was his downfall? I think his charm was to hide his insecurities. He didn’t consider himself handsome. I think he did use it to his advantage, especially with me. It helped ease the enabling. However when you stop enabling - because there comes a point as a parent, you have to make a decision - and when he went through SC the first time, one of the other people who went through became a very good sounding board for me. He helped me see things in a way I couldn’t see on my own. I went to AA with him. It opened my eyes.

It made me realize I had been judgmental about people who used. I had been judgmental about people who were quote-un-quote ‘addicts.’ It is a dual disease for many. There is mental illness that goes along with it - anxiety, depression, or whatever you want to call it. There is a lot of trauma. Your instinct as a parent is to save them, to care for them, to pay for rehab. Honestly, that may not be the best thing for them.  I was told by someone coming out of rehab, “You have to let him fall.”

SEPTEMBER 2019 | 57


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I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t want to accept.

I didn’t want to take my hands off and let him hit rock bottom because I didn’t know what rock bottom looked like. In Alex’s case, his rock bottom was death.  If Alex were still living, and I knew then what I know now, my approach would be different. I would ask him to dial back on using rather than telling him to quit altogether.  I’d talk about clean needles. I’d find Naloxone. I’d start small.  AP: Where is the line between enabling and loving? S: For Alex, my enabling was part of the biggest issue. I think, as a parent, if you’re allowing your adult child to live in your home, eat your food, they’re not working, that’s enabling.  AP: If you could go back and continue enabling him but keep him alive, would you?

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S: My head says no. My heart says yes. Because, as a parent, it wasn’t just me and it wasn’t just Alex. It was… there were 4 other people there who I had to protect. He was stealing. His outbursts were unhealthy. So it wasn’t just okay…we’re going to let Alex stay in the house because we don’t want to see him dead. I had to protect these other children. It’s a fine line. You see a marriage fall apart because a child is using. A dad is saying: you’ve got to let him go. The mom says: I can’t.

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Alex knew he had a problem. Alex knew he needed help. There was part of Alex that wanted help. There was part of Alex that wanted to live for his wife and his child. But there was the seduction of the drug, the seduction of how it made him feel, was more of a pull than the love of his family.

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AP: What does the grief feel like? S: You hear people say it will get better. You hear people say your heart will heal. That is the biggest lie on the planet. It doesn’t get better. My heart will never heal. Will it be different? Yes. But it will never heal. Do I laugh? Yes. But it’s a different laugh. 

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Will I have fun? Yes. But it’s different. Will I have joy? Yes. But it’s a different type of joy. Because there is always emptiness in the laugh, in the joy, in the fun. So when you read the cards, when you hear the quotes, it’s not true. It’s absolutely not true.  AP: What do you think the biggest misconception about drug users is? S: That if you look down the road, it’s the person sitting in the back alley. It’s not. It’s your neighbor. It’s your doctor. It’s your lawyer.

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It could be anybody.


Let Us Bring Things

Back Into Focus

Throughout the discussions and interviews I conducted in researching the opioid crisis, the issue of language came up several times, especially regarding the word ‘addict.’ In fact, during a meeting with community health workers, the conversation took a quiet turn when I used this word, and I was politely educated regarding the current thinking when it comes to addiction and the language we use when we talk about the people living with this disease. From multiple sources, I’ve been told the word ‘addict’ is reserved for use among people who have first-hand, lived experience with addiction; that is, addicts themselves may use the word addict, but for those of us who have not lived with addiction, the word carries a stigma that brings with it a certain amount of judgment. Stephanie helped me better understand the issue: The word addict is part of the stigma. An addict can call himself an addict. When I call you an ‘addict,’ I no longer see the person. Taking addict out of it, now I see you. Now I see you as a person. It’s not just the fact that you’re an addict. What else is going on? When you take the word addict or junkie out of it, you’re a user; now I see you as a human being. What in this scenario or situation...what’s causing this? The reason the person starts drugs may not be the reason they continue using drugs. Why Alex started using drugs was not the reason he continued using drugs. When people say Alex is an addict, you don’t see him as a human being.  When you say: Alex uses drugs…then you have a question behind it. Why? Why is he doing that?  In a 2017 Memorandum from the Executive Office of the President and the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Director Michael Botticelli encouraged Executive Branches to address the terminology related to substance use, misuse and abuse disorders. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, “Substance use disorder (the most severe form of which is referred to as “addiction”) is a chronic brain disorder from which people can and do recover. Nonetheless, sometimes the terminology used in the discussion of substance use can suggest that problematic use of substances and substance use disorders are the result of a personal failing; that people choose the disorder, or they lack willpower or character to control their substance abuse.” What language, then, should we be using?

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Here is a list (by no means definitive or exhaustive) of outdated and updated terminology: Addict

Person with a Substance Use Disorder or Person Who Uses Drugs


Person Not Currently Using Substances or Negative


Person Currently Using Substances or Positive


Persons with Substance Use Disorder


Persons with Living/Lived Experience

Recreational Drug Users

Persons who Occasionally Use Drugs

Recovering Addict

Person in Recovery (which has a range of definitions but typically refers to someone who is stopping or at least reducing substance use to a safer level and reflects a process of change)

Replacement Drug

Medication-Assisted Treatment (i.e. methadone, buprenorphine, naltrexone, etc. – which are not replacement drugs or substitutions but actually help to reduce cravings and withdrawal and restore balance to brain circuits to enhance healing and work toward recovery) *even MAT is controversial, however, and some in the field suggest simply using the term ‘treatment’

It is also important to make the distinction between the terms, often used interchangeably, dependence and addiction. A person using opioid medication to treat chronic illness may become dependent on the medication, which means he may experience withdrawal if he stops taking the opioids. Addiction, however, is a medical disorder involving compulsion to use more and more of a drug even in light of harmful life consequences. According to Addiction-ary, the following words come with a stigma-alert and should, therefore, be either replaced or used with caution: abuser, addict, alcoholic, clean, co-dependency, dirty, dope sick, drug, drug abuse, dry drunk, enabling, lapse, medical assisted treatment, opioid replacement therapy (ORT), physical dependence, prescription drug misuse, relapse, slip, substance abuse, substance misuse. For a more comprehensive exploration of the language surrounding and related to substance use disorder, addiction and recovery, you can visit The Recovery Research Institute’s glossary of addictionrelated terms: Addiction-ary at Editor’s note: This list and the information provided is meant to start a discussion regarding the language associated with addiction, substance use disorder and recovery and is not meant to define it. The terminology changes or shifts depending on sources, but the primary goal is to treat everyone affected by this disease with respect and humanity, starting with the words we use as we engage and connect on this important topic.

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See Grey Matter Puzzle Answers on Page 64 ACROSS

1. Adventure stories 6. Amphetamines 12. Extend the limits 16. Article 17. Socially disoriented 18. Gold 19. Part of the mind 20. “Rubber Band Man” rapper 21. Take by force 22. Football position 23. American cola 24. Risk management plans (abbr.) 26. Narrow channel on the moon 28. Semitic alphabet letter 30. Dorm employee 31. Dessert dish 32. A street where nightmares happen 34. For each 35. Fat from a pig 37. Easily altered

39. Salvador __, Spanish artist 40. The last CEO of Sears 41. One who lades 43. Russian pop duo 44. Fictional free city of Essos 45. Cool! 47. Strong liquor 48. Rural delivery 50. Brews 52. Compound found in hops 54. Where golfers begin holes 56. Third note of a major scale 57. City of Angels 59. Snag 60. Exclamation of surprise 61. Controversial retired wide receiver 62. For example 63. Free to use 66. Carson’s sidekick 67. Pirate saying 70. Convulses 71. Semitic gods


1. Split apart 2. Equally 3. Mountain passes 4. Another name for Thor 5. Chinese chess piece 6. Helpless 7. US army designation (abbr.) 8. Micturated 9. One to respect 10. Small Greek island 11. In a thinly dispersed way 12. Put two together 13. Of the supernatural 14. Type of structure in organic chemistry 15. Card game 25. Feeling of discomfort 26. Get free of 27. Unit of measurement 29. A person who enjoys good food and drink 31. Violin maker 33. Noted psychotherapist 36. Complete 38. Ballplayers’ tool 39. Afternoon illumination 41. Points a finger at 42. Moved quickly 43. ‘__ death do us part 46. Blue jeans 47. French Jesuit theologian 49. Dissuades 51. Eastern European peoples 53. Abnormal rattling sound 54. Air-breathing land snail genus 55. Turfs 58. Farewells 60. __ mater: one’s school 64. They __ 65. Baby’s eating accessory 68. Priestess of Hera 69. Type of railroad

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FUN FACT Since founding the Imagination Library in 1995, Dolly Parton has donated more than 100 million books to children. Learn more at

Guess Who? I am a former Dutchess who was born in England on October 15, 1959. I worked in public relations after my schooling. I have done much charity work both during my time in the royal family and afterward.

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the issue



Fall Cocktails for Fireside Sipping

His Daily Bread: Feeding the Hungry in Harnett County

Small-Scale Farming Equals Big Rewards




CRYPTO FUN A. Charity B. Fitness C. Smoking D. Money GUESS WHO?

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Sarah Ferguson


“It takes a village …” by Ann Robson

To volunteer is to share yourself with your community in the present. To advocate is to share your concerns about your community to those who may be able to help both now and in the future. Every civic organization needs both. Some of us are better at the daily tasks of helping an organization operate. Some of us are better at promoting the organization and helping plan for the future. There are also those who can do both. Government agencies that have the power of the purse over civic groups are usually quite surprised at the number of volunteers who give countless hours and thus save the general community thousands of dollars. In our area of the state there are many needs. Without volunteers some services would not be available. Meals on Wheels comes to mind: a hot meal is delivered to those who cannot provide one for themselves and family whether because of need or temporary illness. The Moore County Dept. of Aging also offers a meal delivery. In both cases there is no charge to the recipients but if they can pay something it helps keep these programs funded. Drivers are always needed. Time for one shift depends on where you live and how far you must travel. Total time seldom exceeds two hours. Some volunteer for one day a month, others for one day a week. It’s usually a case of what is convenient for you and what the needs are. That’s the case with most groups seeking volunteers --- you set your time within their framework and are appreciated from the moment you say you’d like to help. Most volunteers will say they get more out of their time given than the organization does. It’s an equal balance with the good feelings shared on both sides. We tend to think of hospitals and schools being the most in need of volunteers and that is the case. Beyond that are many smaller groups who need free help. If you’re interested in


anything from art to zoology, there’s a spot for you. The Boys and Girls Clubs, The Literacy Council, any historical group, any nursing home, The Sunrise Theater, Weymouth Woods, Prancing Horse, any of the thrift shops, The Coalition for Human Care, your neighborhood association would all be delighted to hear from you. One part of volunteerism that’s often overlooked is serving on the boards of a group. It’s a different type of volunteering but it’s important to the work of the group. Each charitable group must have a charter and an organizational chart of some sort, usually a president or chair, secretary, treasurer and a publicity person at a minimum. Agreeing to serve in any capacity on a governing board is a commitment. There are regular meetings, problems to solve and plans to make. It does help if you have some sort of experience in helping an organization run, but it’s not necessary. A sense of wanting to see success for the group and the people it serves is the main qualification. Advocacy scares some people who don’t want to have to take a view contrary to a public official. If no one appears before a city council and explains what’s needed then it’s assumed there is no need. A few people speaking to elected officials do have an impact. Several people have a bigger impact. You don’t have to have been a debate winner to speak to elected officials. Merely reminding them that you are a voter in their area gets their attention. When speaking for the Dept. of Aging, I always loved to conclude with a smile and the fact that “seniors have the best voting record of any group.” Retired or still working, you have something that can help your community. Why not share? Ann Robson is the author of “Over My Shoulder: Tales of Life and Death and Everything In Between.” She can be reached at . SEPTEMBER 2019 | 65


OutreachNC asked adults and children our September question. Share your answer on our Facebook page.

NAME A THING YOU ARE AN EXPERT IN. One thing that I am an expert in is overcoming adversity. – Shae, 36 Making Shiner Bock bottles empty. – Ray, 47 Playing Foretnite. – Jackson, 12 My neighbors believe I am an expert gardener. Truth is after battling the summer heat, sandy soil, and spending far too much for the newest variety of plants, I now rely on proven winners to make my garden the talk of the neighborhood! – Nancy, 70 Napping. – Sandy, 9 year old canine I’m an expert in the fake-until-you-make-it motto of life. – Ashley, 23 Filling awkward silences with British sarcasm. – Meredith, 17 Statistics and probability. – Kenneth, 53 Being a mom...or....planning an event. – Casi Helping with fundraising events and organizing events to make people happy. – Rhonda, 60 My former job. – Terry, 74 Singing. – Courtney, 23 Riding a bike. I never fall. Well, not yet. I will probably fall now that I said it. – Kyle, 9 Caregiving. – Kaye, 63 I’m a half-expert in a lot of stuff but expert? I have to think about that. – Kennedy, 17 Procrastination. – Karen, 55 66 | SEPTEMBER 2019

Baking biscuits from scratch, just like my mama. – Ethel, 80 Cake decoration. – Deb, 62 Reading. – Cameron, 7 Comma splice. It’s amazing how often it occurs in ‘edited’ documents. – Amy, 43 Cleaning. – Dustin, 26 I’m an expert in nothing....still learning. – Melinda Math. The numbers just make sense in my brain. – Sarah Gray, 7

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OutreachNC September 2019  

Inside the Heart of the Opioid Epidemic

OutreachNC September 2019  

Inside the Heart of the Opioid Epidemic