10 Country: The 'Po Boy Opery' - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

10 Country: The 'Po Boy Opery'

  • More WALB News10 HeadlinesMore News HeadlinesMore>>

  • GEMA offers 10 tips during extreme heat

    GEMA offers 10 tips during extreme heat

    Thursday, August 21 2014 11:50 AM EDT2014-08-21 15:50:56 GMT
    A heat wave will make it feel like the temperature is over 100º in the next couple of days in South Georgia. The CDC says extreme heat is the top weather-related killer in the nation, claiming approximately 400 lives per year. More >>
    A heat wave will make it feel like the temperature is over 100º in the next couple of days in South Georgia. The CDC says extreme heat is the top weather-related killer in the nation, claiming approximately 400 lives per year. More >>
  • Educator, politician Earleen Sizemore passes

    Educator, politician Earleen Sizemore passes

    Thursday, August 21 2014 11:50 AM EDT2014-08-21 15:50:55 GMT
    A woman who served as a superintendent of Worth County schools, and as a state representative in the Georgia legislator died Wednesday in Sylvester. Earleen Wilkerson Sizemore was 76, and died after a lengthy illness at Pruitt Health Sylvester.More >>
    A woman who served as a superintendent of Worth County schools, and as a state representative in the Georgia legislator died Wednesday in Sylvester. Earleen Wilkerson Sizemore was 76, and died after a lengthy illness at Pruitt Health Sylvester.More >>
  • Large bee hive being relocated from Valdosta business

    Large bee hive being relocated from Valdosta business

    Thursday, August 21 2014 11:45 AM EDT2014-08-21 15:45:09 GMT
    The bees have made a hive inside an exterior wall at the back of The Snake Pit and a bee keeper has set up a box on the outside of the wall next to the hive to collect the bees and has been working to relocate the bees for past couple of months.More >>
    The bees have made a hive inside an exterior wall at the back of The Snake Pit and a bee keeper has set up a box on the outside of the wall next to the hive to collect the bees and has been working to relocate the bees for past couple of months.
    More >>

July 30, 2002

We hear a lot about tragedy in our world, but little about those who help others. Aid happens quietly far more times than we realize. Especially in Fitzgerald, where Ten Country reporter Joe Courson found people at their best.

Memories of deceased loved ones don't fade very fast, as Ruben Fish knows every time he walks into his living room. "You think about all he good times, the bad. I watched her suffer for years."

His sister Judy Johnson suffered from cancer when she was 48-years- old, and suffered from financial hardships near the end of her life. She got financial help before she died-- $850 when she needed it most, from a group of local musicians dedicated to helping those in need.

"That's why we do it... for the people," said Relief Organizer Aaron Harper. People come to have a night on the town, dance, visit and listen to the music. They call it the 'Poor Boy Opery' because there is no admission charge.

Money from the sale of refreshments-a dollar for two bottles of water-- and raffle tickets pay the building's utilities. They give the rest away, about $2,500 collected in 18 months, to help people get through their serious troubles.

Aaron Harper, the Opery's lead organizer, would seem to need some of that financial help, because he doesn't have any legs. Spinal meningitis paralyzed him from the waist down when he was two years old. A hospital accident more than 50 years ago involving scalding hot water burned his legs beyond repair, causing doctors to amputate them.

But they didn't remove his spirit of independence, and to prove it, he sings "Don't Worry About Me."

"I don't need any help. I'm just like Minnie Pearl, I'm just glad to be here," Harper says. He puts his heart and soul into giving away his musical talents. "I just want to be a legacy for Fitzgerald. Something to be remembered by."

As a person who gave of himself to help people live better lives, long after his music fades away. They welcome singers and musicians to join them at the Po Boy Opery at 218 E. Pine Street in Fitzgerald, every Saturday night at 8:00 until midnight.

Got a story suggestion for Joe?