81-Year-Old Vet Calls 911 But It’s Not Because He’s Hurt, Dispatcher Takes Immediate Action

Updated March 3, 2017

Not having family close by can be a major burden on some, especially if you are suffering with a debilitating disease and you are elderly.
Eighty-one-year-old, Clarence Blackmon was in a very difficult situation. Having just been released from the hospital after spending months in a rehab facility battling cancer, Blackmon was glad to be home but he had none of the necessities that he needed to survive and no family to help him out. The North Carolina Army veteran was left to call 911, hoping that someone would be able to help him fill his fridge, as he was in too much pain to walk on his own.
“I can barely walk without holding on to a chair,” said Blackmon, when speaking to the 911 operator. Having no choice, he made a desperate and unorthodox plea to Marilyn Hinson, who was the dispatcher on the other end of the line…

“What I need is someone to get to the grocery store and bring me some food because I need to eat something,” Blackmon was recorded saying on the 911 tape. “Whatever you can do to help. I can’t do anything. I can’t go anywhere. I can’t get out of my damn chair.”

Hinson immediately started writing out his grocery list, which consisted of some very basic items. He asked for: a head of cabbage, two bananas, a can of beets and a can of green beans, tomato juice, three Pepsis, some processed ham and, his “absolute favorite,” popcorn.

He also assured her that he would pay her back.

Along with some officers from the Fayetteville Police Department, Hinson not only delivered the items to his door, but she took it upon herself to make him a few ham sandwiches.

“He was hungry,” said Hinson. “I’ve been hungry. A lot of people can’t say that, but I can, and I can’t stand for anyone to be hungry.”

Blackmon, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer, said the following: “It’s unreal how devastating one thing can be,” he said. “Sometimes I just fall down and pray.”

Evidently, his doctor has given him possibly another six months to live…”Only God knows and I thank God I’m still here,” he said.

Luckily, Blackmon will be getting a home health nurse soon, but he will always be grateful for the help he received from the Fayetteville Police Department. “It was like a little miracle ringing in my ear,” he said. “I thought, ‘Jesus, you’ve answered all those prayers.’”


Commenters showed appreciation for the officers and dispatcher at the Fayetteville Police Department…

“I’m grateful there are wonderful people in the world like the 9-1-1 dispatcher and the police who shopped & delivered food to this gentleman….They were terrific!”

And others noted how sad it was that it had to come to this…

“Please note that this veteran lives in North Carolina, a State that has absolutely gutted its social service and educational system. We are a third world country when we treat people so callously. I applaud the police dispatcher and staff but it shouldn’t have to come to this…we are better than this.”

And several faulted the VA healthcare system for releasing him without follow-up care…

“This is a tragic example of societies failure to care for our veterans. Regardless of whether he made bad choices in life where is our compassion in behalf of such people. Too many in our government would suggest he use a bootstrap.”