Senior with Parkinson’s gives favorite painting to first responders who helped her

One local senior thanked her local firefighters with a special piece of art.
Posted at 8:59 AM, Sep 23, 2021

TUCSON, Ariz. — A senior woman in Arizona thanked her local firefighters with a special piece of art.

Bernice Williams-Cross, 89, paints almost every day.

“I’ve done all this in the last several years,” Williams-Cross said.

The walls of her apartment are a testament to her work, with her bathroom doubling as a storage closet.

“So long as I can paint, I’m doing very well I think,” Williams-Cross said.

Williams-cross says she always stays busy, but a couple of months ago she ran into some trouble.

“I was laying on the couch all day. I just could not get off,” Williams-Cross said.

She called firefighters at the Northwest Fire Department to take her to the hospital.

“We do serve a lot of the nursing homes, the care facilities, so we do get those types of emergencies,” said Jeremiah Enriquez, a paramedic for Northwest Fire Department.

The men who came couldn't help but admire her art.

“One poked the other like this and said, ‘Hey Joe, Joe, look at her painting,'" Williams-Cross said. "It was in this position right here, and they went, ‘Wow, wow.’”

They were looking at her favorite painting. It includes two bald eagles in front of the American flag. It took her three weeks to finish.

“When you have Parkinson’s and try to do straight lines, at my age, it’s very hard," Williams-Cross said. "So, I kept going back and touching it up, and touching it up.”

Williams-Cross says these firefighters often save lives at her retirement home. She decided to give them the painting to show her appreciation. And now, it sits proudly in the halls of their station.

“I was told the story behind it and I just thought it was amazing to have that appreciation, that support of our community,” Enriquez said.

This story was originally published by Perla Shaheen at KGUN.