Man sells firewood to pay dead wife’s medical bills

Kenneth Smith of Mississippi is near 80 years old and he can’t afford to stop working.

He sells firewood by the side of the road — $5 a bundle. He’s been doing it since last year and when he first started, his wife, Helen, was alongside him.

This is how he pays his wife’s medical bills, his daughter says.

“On a fixed income of social security alone, it can be hard to do,” she writes on a GoFundMe page. “His wife lost her battle with cancer a few weeks ago and now his income has been cut in half. They spent their life savings during her cancer battle. He is still selling fire wood for extra income but some people have asked if they could help him out so this is the reason I have setup this account for him.”

“I appreciate it,” he told the Gulfport Sun Herald between customers, “but I didn’t come out here to be a panhandler.”

  • GoFundMe: We’re essentially this country’s healthcare now.

  • rallysocks

    Those are some mighty big bootstraps.

  • Ben

    People need to stop paying those effing medical bills. Maybe when everybody opts out, we’ll come up with a more reasonable way of managing healthcare.

    I understand he wants to honor his debts and all, but we’re being slowly boiled alive. This is not normal.

  • Mike Worcester

    Makes me think of all the folks who are drowning in medical debt who cannot do the extras, who don’t have friends to arrange a fundraiser at the local VFW club, or simply suffer in silence. For every Kennith Smith whose story gets told (ty for sharing Bob), how many others are out there?

    • Rob

      Too effing many.

  • Anna

    I have an uneasy feeling this is going to become more common under the new administration and Congress when they try to dismantle the ACA.

    We know the Baby Boomers will have difficulty with medical bills in retirement unless they can afford a Medigap plan. That’s a foregone conclusion.

    Generation X and Y will be in even more dire straits because unless we do something to shore up Social Security and Medicare, it likely won’t be there when they become eligible due to privatization and the ups and downs of the markets that it will be exposed to.

    A Great Depression/Recession will happen again.

    Let’s face it. All of us are just one job loss and one catastrophic illness away from homelessness and poverty.

    • Rob

      Yup. It’s American Exceptionalism writ large.

    • tbwil1

      You mean the same ACA that caused my medical insurance policy to cancel and then quadruple under the ACA compliant plan? Privatization of retirement SHOULD happen, America is behind the curve on that one.