Super Senior: Steven and Lorna Garrow
WEST FAIRLEE, Vt. (WCAX) - Sometimes Steve and Lorna Garrow struggled with money working on the farm. But what they gave to others and the love in return, made them perhaps the richest people you’ll ever meet.
What’s a church without a steeple? For years the Congregational Church in West Fairlee was missing its crown. That was until Steve Garrow got involved. The steeple of the 1855 church was taken off because of disrepair, so Garrow decided to take on the project. He and his wife Lorna are church members. “I figured he could do it because he’s done other things like that,” Lorna said.
It was in 2004 and Steve decided to call it a “steeple-chase.” A play on words to raise some serious cash -- $100,000 to fix up the church inside and out. In his opinion, some of the old fixtures were rather un-godly. “The other lights were modern lights. Kind of like an old woman in a bikini,” he said with a laugh.
The former farmer has a gift for getting people to donate to a cause. “Just talks good, I guess,” Lorna said.
Steve thinks it’s something else. “Patience, you got to have patience,” he said.
Patience is a virtue that goes beyond the church. The Garrows have taken in over 100 foster kids over the years. Lorna wrote and self-published a book on their 40 years of taking in troubled youth on their farm in Brandon. Her words are simple and from the heart. “This was love,” she said.
“We tried to give good love and know they could get a hug anytime they wanted it,” Steve said.
By its definition, a foster home is a place to take children from troubled families. The Garrow’s gave them stability. The kids had chores on the farm and got paid. There were also deductions. “If you say the F-word or something, it cost you like a dime or a quarter,” Steve said.
Steve says he had a difficult childhood as well. His father died when he was just five. “I know how they feel, laying their head on the pillow and wondering if anyone loves you,” he said.
By the age of nine, he was working on Lorna’s uncle’s farm milking cows for $6 a month. At the time, Lorna didn’t think much of him. It was years later when they met up again. Steve was in the Army and in uniform. “When he came home from leave, I said, ‘Oh my, golly. Hi!’” she said.
They’ve been married for 65 years. And you know, if I had it all over again, I would do my life the same way,” she said.
Back at the church, Steve looks over his handiwork -- a towering reminder of a couple who care. “The steeple doesn’t make no money,” he said, “but it’s the first thing you see when you come into town and go out of town... I think we were meant to serve.”
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