A Story of Hope


This is the story of Mark. He is a veteran living in our community with deep roots going
back three generations in Blount County. After he left the service Mark worked on private
contacts where he put to use the skills he gained from the military to good use in engineering.
During this time, he raised his family with his wife and had a good life.
Over 6 years ago he lost his wife to cancer. His children have moved away to start
families of their own, and Mark now lives with his 2 brothers who he takes care of. Mark, now a
senior, is living on a fixed income.
Last month when we had a bad winter storm it affected several people. Some were
without power in the cold temperatures, some were snowed in for several days, some couldn’t
get to work or have access to basic conveniences, and some had to find alternative means to
heat their home due to not having money to pay a utility bill. That was what happened to Mark.
He had been using two space heaters for over a month that cause his electric bill to be much
higher than normal because he had not been able to fill up his propane tank to heat his home.
Through a friend he found out about Good Neighbors and made a call. That same friend
drove him to the office because he does not have reliable transportation and it was just starting
to snow. Mark met with a coach who listened to his story. He has led an interesting life! The
meeting was not easy for him, but he was very grateful that someone took the time to listen
and offer not just a solution but also other information on community resources such as food
assistance, or “tools” as he called them that he could use to better weather the coming month.
GNBC was able to help pay his current electric bill and also make a payment to the
propane company to reactivate his account and get a delivery. Mark felt that with this
assistance he could get back on track and be able to stay warm the rest of the winter season.