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Sanctuary of Ohio Valley resident donates to City Mission

Annabelle Conner, resident at Sanctuary of the Ohio Valley, is seen with the Rev. Jeff Cremeans from the City Welfare Mission as she donates her bingo winnings.


Annabelle Conner got a visit from the Rev. Jeff Cremeans Tuesday and from her, the director of the Ironton City Welfare Mission got a most welcome, if not a bit unusual, gift.

The Sanctuary of the Ohio Valley resident handed Cremeans a small blue handbag in which she had been saving her bingo winnings.

A few days ago, Conner told the nursing home’s accounts receivable manager, Carol McClung, she wanted to give her bingo winnings to someone who could use it. McClung suggested the City Mission.

“She said she couldn’t take it with her,” McClung mused. “She said she wanted to give it to somebody to have a good Christmas.”

McClung had no idea Conner even had a purse with money and when she saw the handbag, assumed the quarters and dimes and dollars amounted to maybe $70. But when the staff began counting Conner’s coins, the stash totaled $251.

“I didn’t think I had that much money,” Conner said. She said she couldn’t remember how long she had been playing.

Cremeans was both surprised and pleased.

“I think this is remarkable. And of all the things she could have done, she gave it to us. This is going to help others in our community,” Cremeans said.

Actually, Cremeans and Conner knew each other casually years ago. She had attended the City Mission Church a couple of times and Cremeans, when he was younger, carried Conner’s groceries a time or two when he worked as a carry-out at Tipton’s grocery store, before she became a resident at the nursing home.

“This will buy some food and some toys,” Cremeans said, no doubt thinking of the more than 600 families who each year sign up for Christmas assistance at the mission.

Conner’s days of collecting bingo winnings is over now, although her love of the game is not.

“I play for other people now,” she said. “I help them.”

McClung said Conner is one of a kind.

“She’s got the best little heart of anyone who ever was.”