Donnie and Sharon Fritts, of Calhoun, are known in the community for Donnie’s brutal fight with a rare form of face cancer that removed his nose and other parts of his face.
The Fritts have been on numerous television shows sharing their story and their faith, but the humble couple did not expect the miracle given as a gift from the citizens of Calhoun and Gordon County to be wrapped in new tires, hoses, an engine, and many other parts to refurbish the Fritts’ car, which they have named ‘Miss Daisy’ from top to bottom.
Dale and Joan Bently donated the car to Sharon and Donnie to get them to doctor’s appointments located in Dalton, Rome, Calhoun and Tennesee, but soon Miss Daisy the car was in bad need of repair.
It came as a shock to the couple when they found out all parts and labor, including one year’s worth of free oil changes, were donated by members and organizations within the community.
Donnie and Sharon belong to the congregation of Barrett Road Church of God, and its pastor, Norris Sexton introduced the Fritts’ to Donnie Hayes, owner at North Georgia Auto Repair.
That same day, Kasey Escobar, Hayes’ daughter, began calling local businesses to see if they would help donate parts to fix the Fritts’ car. “Nobody even hesitated,” said Escobar.
“You know what is so funny about the whole thing, they (the Fritts’) brought their car down here for us to repair not knowing that they were coming here today for us to give them what we did, and both of them brought gifts through the door as they came in,” said Escobar.
Hayes explained the large donation was what made him appreciate Calhoun so much.
“I don’t’ feel like we are doing anything. I feel like it’s the community as a whole, it’s not just us, it’s all of us reaching out to help and that makes you feel good to be a part of a community like that,” said Hayes. “I’ve always said you never lose anything when you reach out and help someone. To me it always comes back and more, and I see it as friendly to help somebody, because I have been down myself and people have been there for me.”
New to town is Napa Auto Parts, who donated the most parts to the Fritts’ car.
Other donations also came from: O’reilly’s Auto Parts; Bumper to Bumper; On the Cutting Edge; Robinson’s Tires; Peach State Auto Glass; Gordon County Wrecker; Gonzales Auto Repair; Barrett Road Church of God, and its pastor Norris Sexton.
A benevolent fund is set up for Donnie and the over $1 million operation to reconstruct Donnie’s face, not covered by insurance due to the consideration of the surgery to be cosmetic, was paid for every penny by the benevolent fund.
According to Sexton, people from Atlanta have donated to the benevolent fund and every penny, said Sexton, goes to medical expenses for Donnie.
Eleanor Silvers, a member of the Barrett Road Church of God congregation, has been helping Donnie and Sharon for over six years, and according to Silvers, she took over duties with the benevolent fund about two years ago.
Silvers agrees with Sexton that Calhoun has been a support system she believed could not be found anywhere else.
“We have called on people and we had it anytime we needed anything for them,” said Silvers.
To see Donnie’s story visit www.donniefritts.com. To donate to the Barrett Road Benevolent Fund, mail donations to Eleanor Silvers at 172 Brian Dr. SW, Calhoun, GA 30701 or call Eleanor at 770-547-9515 with any questions.