“I never thought it’d be me. It hurts, you know, being here.”
On this punishingly cold morning, James was the 1st one here. He's 69 but looks lots younger. An electrician by trade, this native Chattanoogan‘s life may have been a lot like yours.
He was company man, watching his 401K fund grow, thinking about how he’d spend his retirement. “Sure I dreamed about all those vacations, but I knew I’d get antsy. I had always planned to get a little part-time job just to keep me busy.”
That was before “at the drop of a pin, my life took a U-turn. I didn’t even know I was having a heart attack.” It happened while James was still working, almost 15 years ago. 2 years ago he had another heart attack. This time, the toll was more than physical.
“Even tho I have health insurance, the bills amounted to $96,000. It put me right back to rock bottom, where I started as a young man. The system I went through all my life is meant to make sure that you have those vacations you dreamed about as a young man.
When your health fails you, though, those vacation dreams go down the tubes. So does all that money you worked so hard to save over a lifetime.”
His electric bill brought James to us today. He had done all he could and had never before been behind on that bill.
The financial impact of this punishing cold is starting to hit. It’s just the middle of January. Winter is still on its journey.
Now that he knows MetMin’s here, would he be back if he needed help? James skirted that question.
“It hurts. I don’t want this. I’m used to giving, not getting.”