Meals on Wheels of Salem County, Inc., honored Bancroft employee Anthony Usher, whose quick-thinking heroism while volunteering for Meals on Wheels in January helped saved the life of an elderly Pittsgrove man in January. A resident of Woodbury, N.J., Usher was recognized at the Meals on Wheels of Salem County office in Salem during an appreciation ceremony on Thursday, April 24.
Usher works as a program associate for the Haddonfield-based Bancroft, a leading provider of programs and supports for children and adults with autism, acquired brain injuries, and varied intellectual and developmental disabilities. In his role there, he provides direct care for individuals served by Bancroft at its Lakeside Campus in Mullica Hill. Usher was with a small group who headed out on the morning of January 24 to deliver meals through a volunteer partnership between Bancroft and Meals on Wheels of Salem County, a private, nonprofit organization that delivers nutritious meals to eligible county residents who are homebound.
Upon arrival that day to a home in Pittsgrove, Usher noticed something was amiss, as the familiar resident would typically be outside waiting for Bancroft’s arrival.
“I rang the doorbell, and I heard him screaming for help,” said Usher, 25, who has worked for Bancroft for two years. “He told me the key was underneath the mat by the front door.”
Complicating the issue was the fact that the doormat lay beneath approximately eight inches of snow that had accumulated from one of this winter’s numerous storms. Undeterred, Usher located the key and entered the home to find the resident, who has unspecified disabilities, prone upon the floor beside the bed, where he had been face-down for three days.
After calling 9-1-1 for assistance, Usher assisted the resident to a safe seat and provided him with some much-needed hydration, and stayed with him until an ambulance arrived. Usher also helped clear the abundant snow from the path leading to the resident’s door in order to create access for the rescue team from the New Jersey State Police.
Peg Marshall, executive director of Meals on Wheels of Salem County, said that while she knows her organization can always depend on Bancroft for reliable volunteer assistance in delivering meals, Usher’s heroism went above the norm.
These types of situations, where a recipient is in distress, happen anywhere from three to 10 times a year, but we’ve never had a volunteer shovel through snow after a two-day storm,” Marshall explained. “We are indebted to Anthony for the care he showed. He sets a wonderful example to the county, to us, and to everyone.”
Marshall’s sentiments are soundly echoed by the staff at Bancroft.
“Anthony certainly demonstrated Bancroft’s core values in action on this day,” said Michelle Fuerst, day program director at Bancroft’s Lakeside Campus. “And those values made an incredible difference and quite possibly saved someone’s life.”
Three months later, the snow, like winter itself, is gone, but the Pittsgrove resident’s gratitude remains intact.
thanks me whenever we go by there,” said Usher, who still maintains his
volunteer route for Meals on Wheels. “Whenever we’re scheduled to go to his
house, I make sure I deliver his food.”