Community comes to businesss rescue
Black Diamond: Residents band together to help local merchant in time of need
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Dec 18, 2013 06:00 am
A small foothills community is proof miracles and angels really do exist.
As Calgarian Claire Raffaele sat at her husband Frank’s side in the Foothills Hospital helping him recover from a serious brain injury, Black Diamond residents quickly set to work.
Lynnette Wooten noticed a sign in the window of Good Buy Again, a second-hand store the Raffaeles own in Black Diamond, stating due to a terrible accident the store would be closed until further notice.
She called Raffaele, whose husband is Frank’s friend, and upon hearing the situation offered to operate the store until she can return to work.
“My first thought was this had to be an angel,” said Raffaele. “She selflessly offered her services for nothing for a total stranger. I was just amazed and awed at her generosity. Are there really people in the world who are that kind and that good to each other?”
Wooten opened the store just in time for Light Up and operates the business Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Frank has been in the hospital since Nov. 15. His injury is the result of a vehicle collision on Big Rock Trail west of Okotoks when freezing rain coated roads in the area with a layer of ice. Frank was on his way to Calgary after dropping his wife off at work in Black Diamond.
Wooten said she doesn’t know Raffaele well, but because she wasn’t working and her children are grown up she was happy to help.
Soon after, others were asking what they could do so Wooten opened an in-trust account in her name at ATB Financial in Black Diamond to allow those wanting to help the family an opportunity to donate.
“A couple people did ask if they could donate money,” she said. “It’s amazing how many people know about them. They have already embraced our little town and want to be a part of it. My heart just goes out to her.”
With her store no longer a concern, Raffaele spends each day at her husband’s side watching him slowly progress.
She said the doctors are working on teaching Frank to walk again, develop his fine motor skills and regain his short-term memory.
“Every time he wakes up he’s in a strange place and he’s strapped to a bed so he doesn’t pull the feeding tube out of his mouth,” she said. “He always says to me, ‘What did I do wrong?’ I have to tell him every day, actually several times a day, he’s in the Foothills Hospital and had a car accident. In 20 minutes he forgets everything I told him.”
Knowing Good Buy Again is in Wooten’s care is a huge relief to Raffaele, and she said Wooten will not go unrewarded.
“Even though she’s offering to do this for nothing there is no way I’m going to let that happen,” she said. “I will make sure she gets something for this.”
Raffaele said Frank purchased Good Buy Again to give her something to do to keep busy. Raffaele is disabled due to health problems including osteoarthritis and is unable to drive.
Frank would drive her to work and return to Calgary for his own job.
The couple first visited Black Diamond when the business came up for sale and immediately knew it was their dream retirement community.
Fans of The Andy Griffith Show, the Raffaeles dreamed of retiring in a community like the fictional Mayberry where everyone knew each other and smiled at one another, Raffaele said.
“We always said one day we will find a little town like Mayberry,” she said. “When we went to Black Diamond to look at this business for sale we looked at each other and knew we found our Mayberry. There isn’t anywhere in the world that has this kind of warmth.”
Although her husband has a long road of healing ahead Raffaele said she is confident their dream will come true.
“Miracles are happening all around me,” she said. “To move to Black Diamond and have that kind of support it’s almost too good to be true. I have no doubt in the end it will all work out.”