After 3 personal disasters, Sumter man still positive

By Stephen Hooker - email

SUMTER, SC (WIS) - A Sumter man endured three major disasters in his personal life.

While it may be enough to make the average person break down, WIS News 10 went and spoke with a man who is anything but average.

Dee Dee Barkley's dog, Sam, wasn't doing so well. "It's been a rough couple of days," he said.

But on this Friday, it was a different story, "There you go," said veterinarian Dr. Christina Delnerso-Johnson, "Hey boy. He's pretty sedate right now."

Barkley was allowed to take Sam home, but he won't exactly be going home. Let's rewind.

"She just started getting worse and worse," said Barkley. He was referring to the love of his life for the past 30 years, Irene. "She had had a heart attack," said Barkley.

Irene has been in the hospital about three weeks. Things were pretty serious, but Barkley has been right there with Irene, disabled himself from a workplace accident. It didn't stop him from chasing down her doctors until, "I got a phone call telling me to come home and wouldn't tell me why."

Their home had caught fire. "They tried to stop me back here, but I went on through them and got to the back. But the animals were done dead," said Barkley.

Their bird and cat were dead. Then Barkley realized Sam, their dog, was missing. Firemen rushed back into the house and soon emerged with a limp Sam. "But he's alive!" Barkley exclaimed.

Firemen gave him oxygen. Barkley and neighbors rushed Sam to Dr. Delnero-Johnson's Animal Clinic. "It means so much to the owner, and you just need to do something for him," said Dr. Delnero-Johnson.

The doctor wasn't the only one trying to help. The firemen tried to save the home. But finally, "Everything, all my memories, everything's gone," said Barkley, "Everything."

With Irene in the hospital, "She doesn't know anything about this," said Barkley.

"The only silver lining I can see is that Sam is alive," said Barkley, "Maybe things will work out."

On top of everything, the family does not have any insurance on the home. Barkley has a account set up at Safe Federal Credit Union for anyone that would like to make a donation.

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