NEW IBERIA, La. — His name is Darrell Archangel, and he is 69 years old. A few months ago, Mr. Archangel received a shock: His utility bill, his electric bill, his water bill all skyrocketed. But wait till you hear how a community came together to help.
“The month before last my water bill was $40; then last month, my water bill was $998,” says Archangel.
I jokingly asked him if he’d been throwing a wild party, and Archangel laughed, “No, it wasn’t a party!”
Not a party at all. It was the deep freeze of February, and the ice and the snow led to busted pipes throughout the home of this Vietnam veteran, a proud member of the U.S. Marine Corps.
You name the utility bill and it had reached outrageous heights.
“And no way on a social security check I could make those,” explains Archangel. “So I turned to the Iberia Council on Aging, and they're just wonderful people.”
“We just posted on Facebook '..we have a veteran in need;. this is his water bill, this is his utility bill’, and people just stepped up,” says Carol Whipp, Executive Director of the Iberia Council on Aging. “One lady tagged all her friends and said, 'if everyone gives $10”, and before you know it, they had raised over $4,000.”
And others gave and gave, others like Pipes and Plugs, which repaired Archangel's frozen pipes for free. And there were veterans helping their own, too.
"I had one man call me from Lafayette,” smiles Whipp. “He said, ‘I’m a veteran, I’ve got the money, if you have to hire somebody, I'll pay.”
Next up will be the return of Pipes and Plugs to rewire Archangel's kitchen so he can plug in a brand-new stove; plus, there’ll be some floor repairs.
You know--- it's a lesson in what more than one person can do.
“Yes, it is,” agrees Iberia Council on Aging’s Adrean James.
“That’s exactly what the community did as they all came together as one. They didn’t ask for anything in return.”
And Mr. Archangel's message to everyone about helping others?
“You'll find the goodness in helping 'em when you see the look on their faces,” he enthusiastically answers. “I know when they see me, my eyes light up because of what they've done for me.”
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