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Senior Living: Edna Brune a blessing to seniors

By Edna Brune's formula, she is not a senior citizen.

"I had my second 40th birthday and I just had my first year on my third 40," she said recently.

Those few years, however, were enough to grow up in Georgia, head north, head south, and return to the Peach State.

Today she stays busy delivering clothing, newspapers and whatever to residents of the Thomson Health & Rehabilitation Center.

She met her first husband while working in Chattanooga, Tenn.

"He was from Mississippi and I'm from Rossville, Ga.," she said. "Right down below Missionary Ridge. And the sun went down below Lookout Mountain and that was my whole world."

"My late husband was with DuPont so we transferred around a little bit," she said.

The family moved from Chattanooga to Richmond, Va., to Wilmington, Del.

"I had beauty salons at one time, then my arm gave me a little trouble so I went into a travel agency," she recalled.

The salon was Circle of Beauty, in Richmond, Va. Her first husband died in Delaware, where she later met Herman C. "Chuck" Brune. They both were widowed in 1976 and married in 1978. "We sort of promised each other a 50th anniversary, "she said.

Edna and Chuck, a New Yorker, moved south in 1980 and lived in Florida for 22 years. "We went to Mississippi where I had some property, and we lived there for I guess about seven years before (Hurricane) Katrina. And then along came Katrina and we volunteered there 24/7 nearly until the following May."

When they started looking to move again, they thought about being closer to the children, but the children are scattered from Washington, D.C., to Washington state. A niece, Sandy Colson of Appling, helped her find a new home in Thomson. "She said 'Aunt Edna, tell me what you want and I'll have you a house in a week,'" Edna said.

"Being from Georgia originally, it took me seven moves to get back," she said.

Because she had been teaching children since 1961, she began teaching Sunday school again. Then Chuck and Edna decided to teach a couples' class. That branched into a Sunday school at the health center, and that led to a ministry of meeting residents' material needs, too.

"During the week I give out free papers and magazines and anything else I can do to make them happy," she said.

She clips coupons and looks for bargains to donate to Manna Inc., a food ministry. "A lot of times they get the pasta but don't get the sauce, so they like to have that, too," she said.

She picks up newspapers at The McDuffie Mirror and The McDuffie Progress and delivers them to the health center. On Sundays, she collects slightly worn copies of The Augusta Chronicle from her friends and from two boxes at First Baptist Church. She takes them home, straightens them, and takes them to the health center.

And Chuck follows on all the errands. "Shopping's not one of his favorite pastimes, but he goes along," Edna said.

Residents need clothing, too, she said. She said stores don't give away out-of-season clothing, but they give her pretty good deals. "I bought a whole rack," she said. "It was between seasons and they practically give them to you."

She says she gets plenty of help. "I get the word out," she said. Some of the people she visits have difficulty finding clothing that fits. But someone will come forward.

"One guy likes nothing but khaki, and when I see somebody at church wearing that I say 'When you're ready to get rid of those, I'll take them,'" she said. "It makes me very happy to make somebody else happy," she said. "Nobody is over there because they want to be."

The Sunday school class also will give money when needed. One resident was strapped to pay a $40 cleaning charge, and the class paid the bill.

She said she shops carefully. "I'm not gonna spend over maybe $200 a month."

Kathy Morgan also teaches the Bible class at the manor. "We have seen up to 49 people in there," Edna said. Morgan's husband, Glenn "Peaches" Morgan, is active in the men's outreach class she said.

That group helps shut-ins by changing light bulbs or building wheelchair ramps. As for Chuck, Edna said, "He certainly supports me in everything."

Web posted on Thursday, March 24, 2011

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