Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: A woman who had been asked not to return to the Mt. Graham Safe House due to being intoxicated was rescued New Year’s Eve night after being stuck out in freezing weather conditions with her two young children.
“And the king shall answer and say unto them, verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have one it unto me.”Matthew 25:40
By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – Staring into the abyss of near-freezing rain with two children ages 5 and 3 in tow, a woman who was already in a bad situation appeared lost and hopeless. Then a good Samaritan wearing the dark blue colors of the Safford Police Department arrived and helped give her and her children shelter from the storm.
The officer was working New Year’s Eve, and while he was prepared to deal with intoxicated individuals welcoming the new year, this was not a typical call.
He was dispatched to the area of 20th Avenue north of the Mt. Graham Safe House at about 11:11 p.m. regarding a welfare check and discovered the woman walking northbound on the eastern sidewalk with her children in the rain. Just hours later, the temperatures would dip to 20 degrees in the Safford area, as the rain turned to snow in the morning hours. But thankfully to the officer and other’s efforts, the woman and her children were not left in the below freezing weather.
She had been a resident of the Safe House but had been asked to leave because she had broken the rules and had become intoxicated, according to a Safford Police report. Since she had nowhere else to go, she was walking toward Walmart to have somewhere dry and warm to take her young children.
The officer learned of the situation with the Safe House, and an employee said she encouraged the woman to go to the Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center across the street to dry out from the liquor before being allowed back at the Safe House.
However, Safe House Director Jeanette Aston reported the woman was already at the hospital and was simply asked to stay there with her children until she sobered up and was allowed to return to the Safe House. When the woman left walking down the street with her children, a Safe House employee called the police to check on their welfare.
The officer contacted Aston, who had an employee purchase a hotel room for the woman and her children for the night.
The officer followed the employee to the Highway Express Inn & Suites at 2919 W. U.S. Highway in Thatcher and brought the woman and her children to their room. He then went and procured some food for the family after the woman advised her children were hungry.
According to Aston, the mother and children were welcomed back into the program.
The Mt. Graham Safe House was formed in 1995 to provide short-term emergency housing to victims of domestic violence and their children. Advocacy services were then added to provide service to both victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Those who wish to donate to the Mt. Graham Safe House can do so by clicking here.