INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- An elderly woman has a much lighter load thanks to FOX59 viewers who saw her story and stepped up to help.
Delma Vibbert had been struggling since the winter, when thieves broke into her house while she was away and caused lots of damage, including tearing out copper wiring which caused her pipes to burst. As a result, Vibbert owed nearly $1,000 to Citizens Energy for her water and sewer bill.
"I've got my (budget) down to the nitty gritty, you know, and I knew it did hurt. It hurt me bad to have to pay all of it," Vibbert told FOX59 last month.
After our first story aired, viewers immediately started calling and emailing to offer help. They ended up donating a total of $800 directly to Citizens Energy to pay off Vibbert's bill. One viewer donated a stand-up shower for the downstairs bathroom and a company is working to donate the shower door, as well as other bathroom pieces.
FOX59 visited Vibbert, who said she was overwhelmed by the many strangers who had helped her.
"I would like to publicly say thank you to everyone that's helped me," Vibbert said. "I don't know what else to say except exactly how thankful I am. Maybe one of these days, I'll be able to return it."
Garland Whaley, Sr., a contractor who has donated lots of time and labor to help Vibbert, said he was surprised by how quickly the community stepped up.
"I'd like to thank all of them. Anybody that donated to help pay her utility bill and her shower ... it's a good thing, it's definitely a good deed," Whaley said.
The final step is to get Vibbert's air conditioning working again. Whaley installed a large fan to keep the house as cool as possible, but he still needs pieces to be donated for the A/C unit.
"If somebody can't put it in, we'll put it in, we just need the pieces," Whaley said.
As for Vibbert, her spirits are high. She imparted some of her wisdom to FOX59, saying every day she wakes up and hopes to do a good deed for someone else, no matter how small.
"You can't expect nobody to give to you if you don't give something at some time in your life in return. It may not be the person that's done something for you, but you can do something for somebody else, and I think if you turn that around and do that throughout your life, you feel better about yourself," Vibbert said.