Call For Help Changes Life Of Veteran With Hearing Loss — And A Good Samaritan!

Kristin Fowles, Keith and Renee Bench and families

Sometimes when you need help, you just have to flag down a passing car and ask for it. That’s what Keith Bench of Salem, Utah did recently, and it wound up changing his life!

Keith is an 88-year-old Army veteran who recently suffered a stroke that left him unable to drive. At home, he cares for his wife, Renee, whose vision is so poor, she can’t drive either. He was on his way to the pharmacy on a mission to get batteries for an ancient pair of hearing aids when he realized he couldn’t make it without help.

Exhausted from walking in winter weather, Keith flagged down a car driven by Kristin Fowles. Kristen was on her way to pick up some lunch, but when she heard Keith’s plea for help she knew she had to help.

“He’s like, ‘Can you please give me a ride to the Salem pharmacy? I need to pick up some hearing aid batteries,'” she recalled. “I don’t typically pick up strangers, so I was a little leery — so I started recording, just to make sure.”

As they drove, Kristin learned that Keith is very hard of hearing. She had to shout for him to hear her, and even then he mostly relied on reading lips. At the pharmacy, Keith bought new batteries but they didn’t fit the old hearing aids. He explained that he’d gotten some new ones from Veterans Affairs, but when they broke, they never replaced them. He was trying to revive an old pair he’d purchased in 1954 when Kristin stopped to help.

Once Kristin took Keith home and met Renee, she was more convinced than ever that they’d crossed paths for a reason. It turns out, Kristin is on a mission to help others after suffering a family trauma in 2020.

“Two years ago, my son was diagnosed with cancer, in November,” she explained. “We were inundated with people helping us and it’s been my mission ever since then to help back.”

Kristin runs an Instagram account that follows her son’s cancer journey. She decided to post about Keith and start a GoFundMe in hopes of raising money for some new hearing aids. She couldn’t believe the positive reaction from strangers near and far. To date, the fundraiser has grown to $19,057, and people found other ways to support Keith as well.

“I’m just absolutely overwhelmed at the amount of people that have reached out,” Kristin said. “Just people giving a little bit here and there, and people reaching out saying, ‘Can I get him a new coat? Can I fill his pantry? Does he need new shoes? What other needs to this family have?’ So he just has touched the hearts of so many people in such a short time.”

The best was yet to come! Earlux, a company that makes hearing aids and specialized in hearing loss, heard Keith’s story and stepped up to donate a brand new pair of their best hearing aids to the veteran.

“When we hear about people who have served us and have been a part of that, we want to support our veterans,” said Cory Cook, an audiologist with Earlux. “They deserve to be taken care of.”

Kristin was there with Keith on the day he got his new pair of hearing aids, and his reaction was nothing short of beautiful.

Keith was fighting back tears as he heard clearly for the first time in years. Earlux also gave a pair of new hearing aids to Renee, who also suffers from hearing loss. He calls meeting Kristin that day a “miracle.”

“I want to really thank you from my heart, and the people that’s helped you,” Keith said in a video. “You don’t know how much I appreciate it.”

None of this wonderful, life-changing news would have happened if Keith hadn’t asked for help! It’s a simple thing, but people are often reluctant to ask. Remember Keith’s story next time you need help.

Don’t forget to share this heartwarming story.

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