A Local Couple Remembers Ronald Reagan's Compassion

By: Hermelinda Vargas
By: Hermelinda Vargas

President Reagan touched many lives while in office, most he never met, and a lot of his compassion went unnoticed by the media.

That's the way he wanted it. R.L. Alford and his wife Hilda never met the now late President Reagan, but they did come face to face with his compassion.

"Not only once, but twice at least that we heard from him with a donation each time. I told somebody that he was my favorite president anyway."

The Alford's lives were changed forever in 1956 after an ambulance hit their car on its way to an emergency.

"She was wrapped around this stop sign."

Hilda would never walk or use her arms again.

"Next month will be 48 years since Hilda has walked."

In the late 1980's the Alford’s needed a house that would accommodate Hilda's deteriorating disability, but they couldn't afford it. Then President Reagan was so moved by the couple's story he sent two personal checks totaling $1,500.

His gift kicked-off a national effort to help the Alford’s build the house they live in now. R.L. remembers Reagan’s letters and a phone call:

"He said, 'what do your friends call you Mr. Alford?' I said just to call me R.L. and he said, 'is it all right if I call you that too?' and I said I'd be glad for you to."

As life would have it, Alzheimer’s destroyed Reagan’s memory, but it did not destroy his memories, those are captured in the hearts and minds of those who remember his goodwill, and in a house in Blountstown where the power or love is greater than time.

"But that's the way it is: she's forever mine and I'm forever hers."

The Alford's had only been married 10 months when they had their accident in California.


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