Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.
A day after Sandra Carter was assaulted and robbed, the Wilson County Senior Activity Center director was back to her old self Thursday, smiling and laughing with those she loves so dearly.
“It’s been really nice,” Carter said, describing an outpouring of love and support from seniors and the Wilson community. “You learn that there’s a lot of people out there who’ve got your back, which is wonderful.”
Carter, who received minor physical injuries, was treated and released from the hospital Wednesday.
‘NOTHING IS GOING TO STOP US’
On Thursday morning, Debbie Hill walked through the senior center’s doors. She had to stop by and check on Carter.
“I just wanted to stop in and see that you’re OK,” Hill told Carter. “I just had to see your face.”
It was a welcoming and heartfelt moment.
Carter said despite Wednesday’s incident at the senior center, where the assailant stole her purse and wedding rings, she wanted to be there first thing Thursday morning to reassure seniors that the center is a safe place for them to continue their regular routines.
“We wanted to be here today to let everybody know this is not going to stop us,” said Carter, who has worked at the center for more than two decades. “I wanted it to be just as it always is. There is nothing to be afraid of here. If I can be here, and I was the one that was assaulted, everybody else can be here. Nothing is going to stop us from being here. It was just a freak thing.”
The center was open for regular business Thursday. Seniors were working out in their customized gym, playing cards and even attending their regular tai chi classes.
Terry Marquez, who lives in Smithfield, has a routine where she and her sister, who lives in Wilson, enjoy each other’s company every Thursday at the senior center.
“I’m very happy that she (Carter) is OK, for one thing,” Marquez said. “I’m very proud that she’s back today. It does mean a lot to us for the center to be open. You kind of get to be like family here. You get to know people.”
Carter said texts and phone calls were coming in Wednesday from numbers she didn’t even know. Seniors wanted to know if she was OK. They also wanted to let her to know they were praying for her. The senior center continues to receive phone calls and walk-in visits from people who not only care for the center’s staff but who love the place they call home.
Wilson County Assistant Manger Ron Hunt said a senior also came into the center Wednesday after the robbery in the midst of the aftermath. She stood near the front desk and prayed for everyone. He said it was the most beautiful prayer.
Carter said it’s been amazing knowing she’s loved and that people cared enough to reach out during such a time.
“My seniors are the coolest people in the world,” she said with a wide smile.