We first heard of RUOK when we were scrolling through Facebook and saw a post about a family thanking the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office for checking in on their loved one every day. We knew that this sounded like a program that would be perfect for our Aunt Martha.
Then, this happenstance became a godsend.
Every day at 2 p.m., Joyce, Lori, Valon, Evans or Kayla calls Martha to check in. Just having that phone call would have been great, but they go above and beyond just checking on her. First, they got to know her; now, they talk to her as if they are old friends. In a few weeks’ time, our housebound aunt went from “I haven’t talked to a soul all day,” to “I talked to Lori today; she wanted my lemon meringue pie recipe. It took a while, but I found it.”
At Christmas, two of the RUOK members came to visit Martha. They sat and talked to her, and left her with a basket of goodies. Perhaps the best gift, though, was a picture of the RUOK callers. Now, when she talks to them, she can picture a face to go along with the voice.
These angels on Earth brighten Martha’s days, and we rest easy knowing that, every day at 2 p.m., she is going to be talking to one of her new friends.
If she doesn’t answer when they call, a deputy comes out to do a wellness check. Recently, Martha had to be rushed to the hospital. Once she told us, it was long past the 2 p.m. call. When we called RUOK to let them know, Evans told us that they were worried when she didn’t answer and had sent out a deputy to check on her, but she wasn’t home. He noted in her file that she was in the hospital, and, the next day at 2 p.m., the hospital phone rang. It was Joyce saying, “I knew I could find you. How are you?” The phone calls continued every day, and, now that she is back home, she still looks forward to her 2 p.m. visit.
RUOK truly is a godsend, and the sheriff’s deputies are earning their wings daily, one phone call at a time.
– Becky and Susan Buice
A daily phone call brings peace of mind to seniors.
The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department offers a free service that can make a life or death difference in the lives of senior citizens and residents with disabilities.
Once an application has been received and approved, subscribers to the RUOK program receive a daily phone call at an agreed-upon time, said Tammy Butler of the sheriff’s department.
“This system used to be automated, but we have since done away with that, and we call each person ourselves daily. Our office operators enjoy talking to each person daily; you get to know them, and when they may be having a bad day. Sometimes, the subscriber may answer, but is not feeling well, and we send someone to check on them anyway,” Butler said.
“Our office is 24/7, so it can be any time they choose. If we can not get ahold of the subscriber after three attempts, we send a deputy or officer to their home to check on them.”
Applications are available through the sheriff’s office, at the county’s senior centers, and at precinct town hall meetings. The only requirements are that the person is a resident of Cherokee County and has a telephone. Contact Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org, 678-493-4147 or 678-493-4206.
Before Christmas, Georgia Crime Information Center employees who manage the RUOK program delivered Christmas gift baskets to some of the residents they speak with regularly. The gift baskets (which they made instead of exchanging gifts with one another) included a blanket, mugs and a framed picture of the callers, so each senior would know who was calling them each day.