- Associated Press - Sunday, December 13, 2015

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) - The story of a Hot Springs police officer who purchased medicine for a local man in need has rippled out across social media and the community, and the woman who started it all would like to see others create their own waves of caring.

Lavonda Freeman told The Sentinel-Record (https://bit.ly/1OM0sfY ) how Hot Springs police Officer Joey Williams purchased neuropathy medicine for Charles Couples after observing him panhandling at an intersection. Even though he had just met Couples, Williams went to Budget Pharmacy and paid the $13.40 for Couples’ eight medications.

Freeman, who observed the act of kindness, also posted her account on Facebook, and received a flood of feedback in return. It was shared more than 1,200 times and covered by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

“I keep finding out more and more things about this story as time passes on,” Freeman said.

Freeman’s connection to Williams reaches back into her past. At age 21, Freeman attempted to adopt a young girl who was her second cousin. She struggled to get the approval for the adoption, but a lady named Julia, a social worker, believed that she was the right fit for the child. With Julia’s assistance, Freeman was able to adopt the child. Julia later married Williams.

“There are so many connections here,” Freeman said. “Everything in life happens for a reason. I’m glad I was there when that all happened.”

Freeman and Williams are now friends on Facebook. She also said that 100-plus people that she does not know have reached out to her in friend requests. According to Freeman, the outlook of her day expanded from the good deed at the pharmacy to an improvement for her family.

“As I was typing the email to you (The Sentinel-Record) about the officer at the pharmacy, I got the phone call about a house I was trying to get,” Freeman said. “I got approved that same day for a bigger, better house for my family. Everything is coming together for me. I’m blown away.”

Freeman has received several “thank-yous” as a result of her story. Danielle Haynes reached out to Freeman after the story appeared. Haynes informed her that Couples was a homeless man who would come to the shelter where she used to work. Couples now resides with his brother.

“It’s dangerous for him to go around in his electric wheelchair,” Freeman said. “When I took him home, even my jeep was lugging down due to the incline.”

As a personal care assistant at It’s About You, Freeman has assisted her aunt, who is wheelchair-bound like Couples, in receiving assistance and seeks to get the same for Couples and his brother. She said she is willing to help them through the process so that they can get rides around town, groceries and other assistance.

“Now that I know where he lives, I want to help keep an eye on him,” Freeman said. “I’m going to go check on him occasionally to make sure if he needs anything.

“This gives me stronger faith. Things are turning out better for him and becoming better for me, as well. I just wanted people to know that one small act can cause a ripple effect. It is the neatest thing in the world. I’m glad I got in contact with y’all (The Sentinel-Record) to share the story.”


Information from: The Sentinel-Record, https://www.hotsr.com

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