This is an updated version of a story posted earlier on Thursday.
GRANDVIEW - Robert Talley could not believe it.

By about 3 p.m. on Thursday, he had the lift that he and his wife, Ann, had been waiting for, a gift from the Barstow Senior Center.

"I just felt, well, if we had that, why not?" said Ethel Bussman, the office manager at the senior center.

Ethel said after reading about the struggle Robert and Ann have been through to try to get a lift so Robert could be set upright and clear the mucus and fluid from his lungs, she wanted to be able to help. The senior center often accepts donations of equipment to help ailing senior citizens in the area, and Ethel felt certain they had a lift for Robert. She found one and made arrangements for her husband, Larry, to deliver it. The Talleys, she said, were in tears.

"They couldn't believe that someone would something like that," Ethel said. "I felt so good about it after I talked to them."

Ethel said what touched her most was Ann's dedication to caring for her husband. Ann has cared for Robert since 1973, when an auto collision snapped his neck and left him paralyzed. Recently, however, Ann has had health problems of her own and taking care of her husband has become a challenge. Robert fears for Ann's safety; Ann fears for Robert's life.

Larry and Mike Griego brought the lift over to Robert's house and will help the Talley's set it up on Saturday. The lift is essentially a new hospital bed that will be able to sit Robert upright. Ann could not believe they were getting a new mattress and bed. She said Robert's bed is nearly 35 years old.

However, what the senior center donated was not exactly what the Talley's needed. The senior center gave them a bed for an amputee. Ann said they still need a lift to help Robert sit up and leave the bed. Luckily, a Barstow woman might have what the Talley's are looking for.
Jennie Sanchez, a Barstow resident, called wanting to know if she could donate a lift they had. Sanchez said that the family bought the lift for her son, who has cerebral palsy, but they no longer needed it. The lift is just sitting around, now.

"When I was reading the paper, I said, `He could use this,' " Sanchez said. "We have one, and we don't need it."

Robert said his phone rang throughout the day with people wanting to help. People have offered money and time to come over and help. Some wives have even offered to donate their husbands to help lift him up until they get a lift. One woman tried to set up a time with the Talleys when her husband could come over.

"The way people have been calling, it's unbelievable. It's like a different town," Robert said.

Robert said he has told each person who has called the same thing. He did not accept any donations. Instead, he has asked people to donate to the Barstow Senior Center.
The Barstow Senior Center may be reached at 256-5023.

Contact the writer: (760) 256-4121 or aaron_aupperlee@link.freedom.com


Many in Barstow want to find a way to help
Robert Talley said his phone was ringing all day with people on the other end wanting to help. By the end of the day, the Barstow Senior Center had found him a bed and delivered it.
People also called the Desert Dispatch on Thursday, some with ideas and others with an urge to just do something.

On man called saying he understood Talley's situation.

Michael Durant was paralyzed when he fell eight feet through a trap door working on an air conditioning unit at Fort Irwin in September 2006. He suffered a head and neck injury and was not expected to survive. He did, and now considers himself 100 percent independent, able to get around in a wheelchair.

Despite Durant's independence, he knows what Talley is going through, relying on the state for help.

"I understand how hard it is to work the system and get things you need," he said.

Durant intends to look into starting a fund for Talley and others in need in the Barstow area.