Stroke victim gets unexpected help paying for well at home lacking water

Life has a way of being cruel at times.

Elida Ponce suffered a stroke 3 years ago.

It not only stripped her ability to walk without a form of assistance but it also robbed her of doing what she loves most of all--helping students as a volunteer in the San Benito Consolidated Independent School District.

"They still call me mom," the 67-year-old Elida said. "Even though they're old and married they still call me mom."

A photo she shared with Action 4 News is from a happier time in her life.

It shows Elida posing with the Parental Involvement Program.

She helped campuses across the district for more than 13 years.

"Berta, the high school, Fred Booth... I was everywhere," she said.

Elida lives just outside of the city in a humble home.

Tough times for her medically have translated into tough times for her financially.

She recently needed to scrounge together $1,200 to pay for a well for the home after complications with a nearby canal left her without water.

"No toilets, showers, you know... Cooking and all of that," she explained.

Stella Mull got wind of her former, fellow volunteer's hardships and nominated her for the Pay it 4Ward prize.

"I came here today because you know how long you've helped with the Parental Involvement and helping and everything," she said to Elida while holding her hand. "I'm sorry. I don't mean to get emotional, but Mrs. Ponce you were always there for San Benito and doing everything for us. And now I want to Pay it 4Ward to you for helping us, we're now here to help you."

Karen Gonzalez is standing by with GEF Financial Group as a Pay it 4Ward partner.

She surprises Elida with her cash award.

"We just want to say that we're so happy to be able to recognize all that you do for this community and San Benito," Karen said. "So on behalf of GEF Financial and Action 4 News, please put out your hand."

Karen hands her $400.

But that's not her only surprise.

"Hold it," Ricardo Filizola, another representative with GEF Financial Group said. "Stella was telling me about everything you've done for the community. So here's another $200 on behalf of GEF Financial Group to help pay for your well."

Elida looks stunned.

"I didn't expect this," she said. "I've helped so much for the school and everything and ever since I got my stroke I couldn't go back. So I thank you all for everything you've done for us.

Life also has a funny way of turning around.

Elida says the experience is rewarding in more ways than one.

Good things do happen to good people.

"Pay it 4Ward," she said with a smile.

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