WILSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Frances Sloan looks forward to the days when she sees a marked Wilson County Sheriff’s vehicle pull into her driveway.
It means someone is coming to visit her.
Sloan quickly opens the front door and greets her two guests with a smile and a big hug.
“I enjoy them coming in and talking to me because some days I don’t see anyone all day and I don’t get out,” said Sloan.
The 93-year-old is one of 195 Wilson County residents enrolled in the Senior Citizens Awareness Network, or SCAN.
The volunteers are uniformed representatives of the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office.
They conduct in-home checks and make phone calls each day of the year to ensure that those home-bound seniors are well and safe.
The volunteers also provide home security surveys, crime prevention information and information about local social and community services.
In many cases, the volunteers help with groceries, transportation, air conditioners in the summer and heaters during the cold winter months.
While Sloan has family members who check on her regularly, many of the participants do not.
“We are showing them that the community cares,” explained Director Debbie Pare. “We want them to know we are there to help.”
SCAN is funded by private donations and is absolutely free to participants.
Sloan has received SCAN services since 2001.
The program started 13 years ago by former Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe after the tragic death of an elderly citizen.
“He had no friends, no relatives, he’d outlived all of his relatives and no one was checking on him. He actually fell through a board in his house and hung his leg up and couldn’t get out. He laid there and literally starved to death,” Sgt. Don Witherspoon told News 2.
“Sheriff Ashe said at that time there’s no way that this day in time in this county that this should happen,” continued Sgt. Witherspoon.
The program took off and has continued under the leadership of current Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan.
A team of 28 volunteers make up the SCAN program.
Even director Pare, who works 40 to 60 hours a week, does so for free.
“My nursing career, for the most part, was in geriatrics. It’s just something I’ve always loved. It is a segment of the population I’ve enjoyed working with so to find an organization like this to be able to be a part of and put a personal touch on was the perfect fit for me,” said Pare.
A phone call on an in-home visit may seem like a small act but it is meaningful to those who receive it.
“I look forward to them. I plan on the days they are to come. I enjoy them, I really do,” said Sloan.
There are only five sheriff’s offices in Tennessee that offer a program like SCAN.
“If it saves one life then it’s worth the program,” said Sgt. Witherspoon.
Anyone interested in receiving SCAN services, making a donation or becoming a volunteer should contact Debbie Pare at the Wilson County Sheriff’s Department at 615-444-1412.