Making a Difference One Step at a Time

When Twinetta Frazer’s physician prescribed an exercise program to reduce her weight and stabilize her diabetes, the Marie Mills Madrona House, a local agency for disabled adults, immediately contacted Tillamook County General Hospital (TCGH). The hospital’s Faith in Action program, which assists the disabled and chronically ill with the help of volunteers, was more than happy to lend a hand. They quickly matched Frazer with volunteer Connie Sutton and the two became fast friends.

Sutton and Frazer started walking last summer, but when fall rolled in so did the stormy weather, making their outside jaunts intolerable. Determined to maintain their workout regimen, a resourceful Sutton checked with the local YMCA. Thanks to an indoor track, the two were able to keep walking, even on the most inclement days. In addition to her twice-weekly routine with Sutton, Frazer began playing baseball and basketball. To date, she has lost more than 25 pounds and her health has improved.

“Our program is designed to reach the elderly in our community and those who suffer from chronic or mental illness,” stated Linda Heyne, program coordinator for Faith in Action. “We have many committed volunteers, like Connie, who take time out of their busy lives to make a difference and help our hospital extend its mission of Christ-centered care.”

A busy wife and mother, Sutton enjoys the time she spends with Frazer and knows how beneficial their walks together are. As a full-time secretary at a local elementary school, Sutton commutes to Portland, Ore., twice a week where she is pursuing a Master’s in Counseling. Despite it all, she wouldn’t miss her walks with Frazer.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for me to let go of all my stress, and the exercise has improved the quality of life for both of us,” said Sutton. “It’s amazing the benefits we reap when we reach out to help others.”

On sunny days, Sutton and Frazer can be spotted walking through local neighborhoods. Frazer has become acquainted with many of the residents and always greets them with a smile and a wave. The duo frequently takes time from their walks to visit an elderly lady with cancer whom Frazer became acquainted with at Marie Mills. The visits not only give Frazer a chance to visit a friend, but bring joy and sunshine into the ailing woman’s life.

“Our hospital strives to meet the needs of the whole person—body, mind and spirit,” said Wendell Hesseltine, president and CEO of TCGH. “Most of our care is delivered inside our facility, but through programs like Faith in Action our healing extends beyond the physical walls of our hospital and reaches into every corner of our community.”

Featured in: July 2003