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Helping Miracles Happen One Life at a Time

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BJ Matthews, resident at Baptist Village of Oklahoma City, knows intimately how stressful it can be when you’ve meticulously planned your finances for retirement only to be hit with one detour after another. BJ was sure she and her husband had saved plenty for retirement, but life took a few twists and turns, and she was left feeling depleted, financially and emotionally.

She was born Elizabeth Myrtle 87 years ago in Wichita, Kansas. At the vulnerable age of four, her dad passed away. A few short years later at the age of nine, her mother died, and Elizabeth found herself living with her 18-year-old sister.

Elizabeth turned to her Girl Scout leaders, Jack and Imojean Thomas, for support. Unknown to Elizabeth, her mom had asked the Thomas’ to raise Elizabeth after she was gone. The Thomas’ happily agreed, and Elizabeth Myrtle asked to change her name to Betty Jo (BJ) Thomas.

BJ stayed active in Girl Scouts, and after graduating high school, she enrolled at Emporia Teaching College, what is now Emporia State University in Kansas.

After college, BJ began teaching but felt a calling to do more. She applied to work for the Department of Defense (DoD), and in 1956 her career took her overseas to teach and counsel children whose parents were deployed by the United States military. Over the next 15 years, BJ spent time in London, Turkey, and England.

Upon her initial arrival in England, BJ met a man named Robert Matthews (Bob). Bob was working as a teacher for the DoD as well, and while they worked in different locations for much of the time, BJ and Bob became friends. After years of assignments in different countries, they both ended up back in England. Bob had mentioned marriage on several occasions before, but it was at this time, BJ knew it was meant to be. They married in Bob’s hometown in Pennsylvania.

BJ and Bob lived in England for the next several years before returning the United States. They made their home in Oklahoma City, both accepted teaching positions at Heritage Hall school, and started a family adopting a son and a daughter. The next phase of their life was no less action-packed and devoted to raising their kids.

When BJ’s mom needed constant care she moved into a long-term care community. Her mom was not prepared for the cost, and BJ took the responsibility to pay for her mom’s care using the savings and trust accounts she and Bob had set back years earlier for their own retirement.

Shortly after BJ’s mom passed away, Robert contracted West Nile virus and fell very ill. It wasn’t long before Bob’s care required constant attention, and he too was moved into a long-term care community. The unexpected cost of her mom’s care followed with her husband’s long-term care, nearly $3,000/monthly each, left BJ worried about her own financial security.

Bob passed away in 2013, and in 2016 BJ moved to Baptist Village. As the years went by, she could see her savings would not last. She didn’t want to leave Baptist Village, but she didn’t think she’d have a choice. She was scared and didn’t know what to do.

A team member encouraged BJ to apply for the Larry and Edwine Adams Assistance Fund. This fund is provided to qualifying BVC residents as a special resource to help meet essential living needs. BJ was hesitant, but she applied and was approved.

She says, “Baptist Village gave me the second miracle of my life.” BJ continued saying, “there’s nothing but love at Baptist Village.”

The Adams Assistance Fund is 100% donor funded by gifts from our faithful supporters. Without your help, residents like BJ would be forced to find other living arrangements. BVC is honored to offer this help to our residents.

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