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During a visit to the Life Care Center in Morehead, Madge Plank, 74, comforts Thelma Trent, 92. Madge has been the caregiver for Thelma and her husband, Wales, also 92, for four years.

A prayer answered

story by Evan Mattingly

Four years ago, Madge Plank's phone rang.

The year before, she had retired from 21 years as a caregiver at Home Health Clinic in Morehead. The call was from a former coworker who told Madge that Wales and Thelma Trent, longtime Morehead residents, needed help. "A prayer was answered," says Ted Trent, after Madge had agreed to help care for his parents.

Madge spends about 30 hours a week helping Wales and Thelma, both now 92. She prepares breakfast and lunch--often, Wales' favorite chicken and noodle soup with chocolate pudding for dessert. She also helps Thelma and Wales dress when needed and tidies the house.

"I try to make it comfortable for them," Madge says. She often sits with them, sharing their stories. "She's a nice person," Wales says.

"Knowing what to do and becoming acquainted with them was easy," Madge says.

Madge daily visits Morehead's Life Care Center, where Thelma was admitted to begin rehabilitation for a broken foot. Thelma regularly greets her with a smile. Madge smiles back as she watches Thelma regain her strength. The Trent family feels grateful to Madge every day.

"People like Madge," says Ted, "I don't know where we as a family or where Mom and Dad would be today if it wasn't for her."

"I'm very thankful that the Trent family needed me and that I was free to take the job," Madge says. "These are the most wonderful people I've ever worked for. They're the grandparents I never had."  

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Thelma smiles at her caregiver, Madge, during a physical therapy session at the Life Care Center in Morehead.

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Madge treats the Trents like her own family, even if that means making sure Wales is comfortable while getting a haircut in his kitchen. "I've met a lot of good people with bad health and I've never, never met anyone like them," Madge says.

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Madge prepares the bed of Wales and Thelma. "We can't thank her enough for what she does for this family," says Ted Trent, tthe couple's son. Since it is difficult for the two of them to do every day tasks, Madge is responsible for making sure the living environment is safe and inviting.

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Madge, originally from Carter County, assists Wales to the kitchen so he can eat lunch. Madge has to play close attention to Wales since he can't speak very loudly.

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During a visit to the Life Care Center in Morehead, Madge smoothes lotion onto Thelma's hands before Thelma leaves to do physical therapy. Thelma is nursing a broken foot and walks farther every day.

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Madge visits with Thelma before her rehab session. "It feels good to know you can help people, the people that need it," Madge says. "And they do."

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Madge takes a moment to read one of her favorite Bible verses, Job 21:15, before leaving for the Trents' house. As a follower of the Church of God, Madge visits church every week with her family and enjoys listening to gospel music on her free time. She was raised in the church and believes that through God, anything can happen. "If we pray to him, then we receive prosperity in our lives," Madge says.

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Madge assists Wales as he sits down to eat his favorite lunch, chicken noodle soup and chocolate pudding.

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Handling daily household tasks, Madge takes a moment to reflect on her work. She finds enjoyment in helping the Trents. "They never have anything bad to say about people," Madge says.