Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 8:57:43 PM

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Couple Devotes Retirement to Helping Others

The Whitcomb's are not your average retired couple.

"Neither one of us plays golf and we had no desire to go on a cruise with a thousand other people," said Myrtle Whitcomb.

When it was time to plan for their golden years, they knew there was one thing they wanted to do.

"We would like to be able to come alongside people at the point of their need to bring home and encouragement and some love," said Myrtle.

John and Myrtle are part of the Salvation Army's Emergency Response Team.  The two travel to areas devastated by natural disasters and help others put back together their lives.

"When you're deployed to a disaster, you do what needs to be done," said John.

Myrtle's first deployment was to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake
where she spent 31 days lending a hand to others.

"Then they sent me with the trucks and a driver and a an interpreter all through the Island and we were delivering food and we were delivering mattresses," said Myrtle.

John joined Myrtle on a deployment to Oneonta after Hurricane Irene. Then, the two traveled to Owego to help out in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Lee.  Most recently, the couple donated their time in New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy. 

"I was fortunate to serve on a Salvation Army canteen--which is a mobile food truck that takes hot meals and snacks and warm and cold drinks out to people that are working on their house after the flood," said John. 

The two say providing emotional support is just as important as physical support.

"It's important to have an opportunity to talk, to know that someone cares and that we listen and affirm their emotions for what they really are," said Myrtle.

Although they admit it's tiring work, they say they are more than willing to hit the road to help out.

"Service to others is our reward and I think you can do that and get a sense of accomplishment and being able to help others," said John.

"We will get cards from people that we have met and they always tell us how much it meant to them that we were there," said Myrtle.

Ali Warner Fox 40 HD News.


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