Don’t ever give up hope

Published 7:51 pm Wednesday, January 19, 2011

To the editor:

My brother and I feel the need to advise as many people as possible that you should never give up on a mentally challenged person. Our brother, Keith Wiggins, who is now 52 years old, was born mentally challenged and for years could do basically nothing for himself.

He has lived with our mother and father his entire life and never stayed anywhere else without them, so their life was the only life he really knew.

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He eventually learned some of the basics in life — how to pretty much dress himself and feed himself. He went to school for the mentally challenged for many years but never could learn to read or write or call anyone on the phone.

This background makes what he did on Jan. 1 even more remarkable.

Our dad died on Nov. 1, and his 81st birthday would have been Jan. 1. My mom and dad would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on Nov. 14. Needless to say, with the anniversary, Thanksgiving, Christmas and his birthday, my Mom and Keith felt a lot of grief in a very short period of time.

On the afternoon of Jan. 1, Mom told Keith she was going to lie down in the bed for a while. Keith decided to lay down with her to “make her feel better.” They were not there long before Keith realized that Mom had an accident, but he could get no response from her.

No one knows how he knew to do so, but Keith immediately went to the telephone and dialed 911 and asked for his neighbor by first and last name. That neighbor, who is employed by the Suffolk Police Department, was paged by 911. She verified that she knew Keith and dispatched the rescue squad, which arrived very promptly.

They advised that if Keith had not acted as he did — calmly and knowing whom to ask for — our mother would not have made it.

We feel that he should be praised over and above a thank you. We never even knew that he knew what to do in a crisis and that he would remain calm.

We are very, very proud of him.

H. Wayne Wiggins



Linda Wiggins Eure

Eure, N.C.