Bruce Pender: A Perfect Stranger
On Sunday, November 12th, Bruce Fender, a volunteer with Pickin’ Up The Pieces, was killed in a car accident.
I can think of no finer tribute than that penned by Pearlington’s Patricia Cole Wilson, a grateful recipient of Bruce’s generosity. Our hearts go out to Bruce’s family and friends and to the Edwards and his fellow volunteers at Pickin’ Up The Pieces. Bruce was 44 years old:
"A few weeks after Hurricane Katrina devastated our small town of Pearlington, Mississippi, Bruce Fender came with a Relief group called "Pickin’ up the Pieces." It’s a long way from Savannah to the Gulf but we desperately needed help and they came.
Bruce was a tall, handsome young man, with a heart of gold and arms of steel. He was in charge of construction and worked twelve or thirteen hours each day to put together a home for us. I marveled at his happy face, he really seemed to enjoy the hard, filthy work before him.
When the house was finished enough for us to move in (out of the FEMA camper) he beamed with pride! The only reward was our eternal gratitude, a pot of gumbo and a pecan pie. From his reaction, you would think he’d been paid a million dollars.
He left us with hugs and a promise to return; "to fish," when things were back to normal. The telephone rang Sunday afternoon – a terrible accident. The Bible teaches us to "take care when entertaining strangers; there might be an Angel unaware." Our lives were forever uplifted by this Angel. He took the pieces of our broken world and by the work of his hands made a home. A Perfect Stranger in a strange land.
Samuel Johnson said, "A friend is the Masterpiece of Nature." How true!
We pray that the other Angels guide you to Paradise, Dear Friend. We will always remember and love you."
Harry and Pat Wilson
For all of Pearlington