By Felicia Farnsworth
Ashkay “Andy” Patel, the owner of Water’s Grocery Store in Aberfoil, moved to Union Springs in 2020 and took over ownership of the store. Since moving to Bullock County, Patel has been giving back to the community.
“I moved my family here from Chicago without knowing anyone here. The community has helped and supported my business so much. I wanted to give back to two deserving children in the community, and I reached out to Sheriff Raymond Rodgers for suggestions. That’s when I learned about the Sheriff’s fund,” stated Patel.
The first recipient is Tytianna Harris, a six-year-old kindergartner at Union Springs Elementary School. Miss Harris began having unexplained seizures around November 19, 2021.
She was rushed to Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham, AL., where the medical staff ran several tests to try to pinpoint what her ailment may have been caused by.
She has since been released and is back home, where she stays in a semi-coma state to help with her seizures. Miss Harris’s condition is a rare brain disease, and the medical team is still running tests to find a diagnosis. Her father, Paul Harris, Jr., and her Grandmother, Hattie Harris, were present to receive the donation on behalf of Tytianna.
The second recipient is eleven-year-old Traceston Harris, a fifth-grader at Conecuh Springs Christian School. Mr. Harris was diagnosed sometime in 2020 with Lymphoma.
He has been receiving treatments at Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham, AL. and continues to receive them once a week. His Aunt Shannon Harris was present to receive the donation on behalf of Traceston.
While introductions were being made, Ms. Hattie Harris and Ms. Shannon Harris put together that the children were distant cousins, unbeknownst to them all. All guardians present were humbled and thankful for the generous donations made to their children.
“Thank you, Mr. Patel, for giving back to the community and for making this happen,” commented Sheriff Rodgers.