ACE Program builds relationships with police, elderly

Published: Jan. 7, 2014 at 5:10 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 17, 2014 at 5:10 AM EST
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - There's a program in Columbia that's helping make sure seniors are taken care of. It's called the ACE Program, which stands for Assisting Columbia's Elderly. It's funded by the City of Columbia and the Columbia Police Department.

Eartha Freeman is 94 years old. You wouldn't know it by talking with her, but sometimes she feels her age.

"These knees, sometimes they hurt so bad I can't do nothing but rub them, but I thank God I can rub them," explained Freeman.

She's one of hundreds of seniors in Columbia taking part in the ACE Program.

"It's checking on the elderly to see if they need any assistance and of course, if they need assistance, we can call the police department and have somebody pick them up and take them to the shelter. If the heat goes out or those type of problems," said James Swisher, coordinator of the ACE Program.

Eartha gets checked on every day. Whether it be a phone call, or a ride to the grocery store, she's taken care of.

"She'll come in and check to see if everything is alright. She know everything going to be alright," said Freeman.

Eartha will be the first to tell you she can most certainly take care of herself.

"Woo! Yeah, I know how to, and that gun that you've got on your side, I know how to use them," said Freeman.

Even though she has things under control, it's nice to be checked on.

"I thank the good Lord for all y'all, not Gigi only, but for all y'all because I know if you come by here and see something is wrong with me, don't you know I know you're going to stop," said Freeman.

"A lot of our elderly people have outlived their family so the only people they have checking on them is the police department and of course, the ACE Program," added Swisher.

It's a relationship that's working for Eartha, and doing what it's supposed to do.

"I feel safe. I don't feel like somebody is going to come in here and bother me, because if they come in here and they don't have no business here, when I get to them, they'll wish they hadn't come in," said Freeman.

The ACE Program also provides Meals on Wheels, will take participants to the grocery store, and doctor appointments.

If you're interested in learning more, call the Columbia Police Department at (803) 545-3660.

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