MODESTO -- You might remember the incident from June involving a 29-year-old man who inexplicably punched a 69-year-old woman as she sat in her wheelchair along Coffee Road.
She certainly does.
"How could I ever forget it?" she said. Her assailant, 29-year-old Nicholas Velasquez of Modesto, reportedly screamed something about hating white people as he hit her.
He's now in a mental hospital in Napa, his mental competence being assessed.
She the victim would chat only if I promised not to print her name endured a black eye, facial cuts and broken glasses.
The black eye and facial cuts have healed, she said. The glasses would not.
"The frames were broken in two," she said. "They couldn't be fixed."
She couldn't afford to replace them and her health care providers no longer cover optical. Yet she didn't go long without lenses.
A case worker from the Stanislaus Senior Foundation arranged for her to get new ones.
While funding for those in need often is the first thing to go during a budget crisis, seniors need to know they can find help in an emergency.
The Senior Foundation, founded in 2008, works with other agencies, including Adult Protective Services, the city of Modesto, the Area Agency on Aging, public utilities and faith-based organizations such as The Salvation Army and Advancing Vibrant Communities.
Relying on grants and donations, the nonprofit foundation provides money for such needs. Then it connects the seniors with the agencies that can make a project happen.
Such was the case last summer, when the foundation funded a wheelchair ramp for Librado Lopez Sr., an 83- year-old resident of south Modesto whose legs finally wore out after years of working as a laborer. He now gets around on a motorized scooter, but the family's older home needed some retrofitting.
Elizabeth Price, president of the Senior Foundation, contacted Advancing Vibrant Communities, which sent volunteers to help.
"They came over and checked things out," said Librado Lopez Jr. "They just started building."
The crew began by tearing out an old, crumbling sidewalk, to which the decades had not been kind.
Three days later, the Lopezes had a brand-new 15-foot-long ramp with a nonslip surface.
"They did a beautiful job," son Librado said. "It's perfect."
"We paid for the materials," Price said. "They (Advancing Vibrant Communities) built it."
The foundation also connected Don Wilson, 82, of Modesto. His wife, Virginia, died in October. Instead of their two Social Security checks each month, he now receives one. And he had to return the check she'd received in October.
Wilson lives in the Coralwood Mobile Home Park in north Modesto.
"I own my own (mobile) home," Wilson said. "I just rent the pad. My rent is $846 a month. My (Social Security) check's only $946."
Add property taxes (about $60 per month), electricity ($100), gas ($30) and medications (varies), and he's operating in the red.
Consequently, a man who volunteered with the American Red Cross during the New Year's Day flooding aftermath in 1997 now needs help.
"It's a darned mess," the retired construction worker said. He'd go back to work as a crane operator if he could.
"Pretty hard to find work at my age, though," he said.
The Senior Foundation worked with The Salvation Army to pay his power bill last month. It's a one-time benefit, but it kept the electricity on while he figures out what he's going to do.
Many seniors, Price said, need to move after they lose a spouse, and the foundation helps them relocate.
There are many more like Wilson, Librado Lopez and the woman who was attacked on Coffee Road. Life comes with emergencies. People need help.
Wilson is still in his home. Lopez can roll into his. And the attack victim?
She can see again.
Jeff Jardine's column appears Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in Local News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @jeffjardine57 on Twitter or at (209) 578-2383.
The Stanislaus Senior Foundation will have its annual holiday fund-raising event Tuesday at the McHenry Museum, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 per person. Call Elizabeth Price at (209) 848-2635 for ticket, sponsorship and other information. Visit www.stanseniorfoundation.com.