A Central Texas city is one of the only places in the state that consistently checks in on its elderly citizens.
Volunteers with the Belton Police Department make phone calls to them as part of the RU OK? program.
The RU OK? program has 15 regular volunteers who make weekly, or daily, phone calls. But, the Belton Police Department has over 100 volunteers who would jump at the chance to be a part of such a rewarding program.
"This is Anita with the RU OK? program at the Belton Police Department."
"Good Morning, Anita."
This is how 95-year-old Erma Locklin starts every day... a phone call from a volunteer with the Belton Police Department asking her if she is okay.
"Oh, I'm doing great." - Erma Locklin
Unfortunately, it was because of another woman who was not okay that the RU OK? program was started. Volunteers said a woman was found dead in her home two months after she died.
"The police department said we can't let that happen to our Belton residents," Volunteer Coordinator of the RU OK? program Anita Wyatt said.
So, the Belton Police Department created the RU OK? program in 2013. Back then, there were only five people on the call list.
"Right now, we have 130 participants in our program that get a scheduled call," Wyatt said.
Locklin is like many senior citizens who signed up for the program.
If they don't answer, a police officer goes to their home to check on them. So far, they have saved five lives.
It's close calls like that that make the calls so rewarding for volunteers.
"It warms my heart to know with just one phone call, we can make a difference in someone's life by letting them know we care and that we really are happy if they are doing alright," Wyatt added.
Locklin says she doesn't just feel a part of a program, she feels a part of a family...
"Thank y'all from the bottom of my heart. I need you."
One she hopes gets bigger and bigger.
"It's a wonderful, wonderful program. every town needs this," Erma Locklin said.
Belton senior citizens or relatives of seniors can sign up for the RU OK? program.
On the other hand, if you'd like to volunteer with the program or Belton Police Department in general, you can sign up for the Citizen Police Academy at the station.
Copyright 2017 KXXV. All rights reserved.