Family stricken by tragedy works to improve their community

A Milwaukee man and woman have found their purpose, despite tragedies and health concerns.

Arthur Ward and his wife Brenda have experienced many tough times. Arthur lost his sight after being beaten up by a gang in the year 2000.

"All of a sudden I got hit a few times, and everything just happened right then and there. Here I was 33 years old, blind, and not knowing what I'm going to do with my life," he said

Arthur and his wife Brenda live with diabetes. Brenda lost half her leg to the disease and uses a wheelchair. Homicides have claimed the lives of two of the Wards’ children. They lost a son last year and their daughter was killed steps away from Butterfly Park in Milwaukee.

"I just been praying and sticking with God. That's all, that's the best I can do, take one day at a time. I learned that," Brenda said

So it's incredible when you consider what the couple does in Butterfly Park three times a week. They dole out free home cooked meals to the community at 37th and Meinecke. The Wards' have been feeding the public for a decade. They pay for the meals themselves.

"It's something to bring the community together. We're in part of the area that has higher crime, and it's a way to fellowship and have a good time..watch kids play and give mothers a break from cooking," Arthur said.

"Some of these kids be hungry too so we try to provide for everybody to eat and get a good meal," Brenda said.

Brenda admits cooking so much can be a burden. She laughed as she admitted she sometimes declares, "I ain't doing it no more. (She laughs joyfully) ..but I still do it."

And like clockwork, the Wards', the food and volunteers show up at Butterfly Park.

"People call me grandmama, auntie, mama," Brenda said.

Arthur is convinced the gang attack that stole his sight was a message he needed.

"It was actually a call from God,” he said. “It helped me, it helped me rehab and helped me benefit from this."

A couples gift for in humanity. Proving that perhaps the best way to survive hardship is to nurture souls and fellowship with others.

Brenda asserted, "As long as I got god on my side, I keep on going that's it."

The Ward's have set up a foundation called "Matilda Ward Youth Empowerment." It's named after Arthur's mother. Funds are used to help the community.

To donate money or items call 414-430-4145. Donations tax deductible. You can also donate at any Associated Bank.
 

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