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‘She held his hand and told him she loved him. It’s quite possible she’s the first person to ever utter those words to this poor man.’: Police officer comforts elderly man in his final days after lifetime of ‘poverty, loneliness’

“You may look at this picture and see a caring granddaughter comforting her beloved grandfather as he lies in a weakened state in a hospital bed.

The truth is that this woman is a police officer and she met Bob only two years ago while she was on duty.  Lawrenceville Police Department Officer Dena Walker Pauly’s life was changed forever when she was dispatched to a local pawn shop, where staff were unsure how to help him. 

Life has not been kind to Bob. He’s been on his own since he was a child and has no known family. He was homeless most of his life and a stroke eventually left him non-verbal. His life is a series of sad stories strung together by poverty and loneliness.

My sweet friend arrived at the pawn shop and was also unsure how to assist Bob, but she sensed he needed help and offered to take him home so he could show her what he needed. She was horrified when she saw Bob’s living conditions.

My blue sister may have been dispatched that day by police radio, but I have no doubt she was really sent by God. She immediately addressed Bob’s deplorable living conditions and taught him basic skills such as throwing garbage in the trash can rather than the floor. She’s ensured he has food to eat and routinely cleans his small apartment.

She eventually sought and received a Power of Attorney for Bob’s medical care. He’s been in the hospital since May and today was an important day for Bob and Dena.

I spent my lunch hour at Eastside Medical Center as Dena made the difficult decision to begin hospice care for Bob. She held his hand and told him many times that she loved him. It’s quite possible she’s the first person to ever utter those words to this poor man.

We held Bob’s hands and prayed with him today. We wanted to make sure he knows how much God loves him and how many people care about him.

I’ve never been prouder of any friend than I was today of Dena Walker Pauly. It’s hard for her to say goodbye to Bob. I told him he’s changed her life forever because I know it’s true. She told me last week it really bothers her to think of Bob being discarded after he passes, so I reached out to Tom M Wages Funeral Service and Tommy didn’t hesitate to offer their services. Dena takes great comfort knowing she can keep Bob with her once he’s gone. Thank you so much for that gift, Tommy.

As sad as it is to say goodbye, I can’t wait for Bob to get his first glimpse of Heaven because his life on earth has been so hard. Please keep Bob and Dena in your prayers in the coming days as we trust God to do what’s best for Bob.

Please also remember to pray for cops. This photo depicts the true nature of law enforcement officers. We are drawn to this profession because we care. We care so deeply that it hurts sometimes. We see the worst, but sometimes we also get to see the best. And we have opportunities to truly make a difference for people. Like Bob.â€

Shannon Volkodav

This story was written by Shannon Volkodav. The article originally appeared here.

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