Neighbors Have Been Helping a Woman Who Uses a Wheelchair Get In Bed Every Night For 10 Years

Oct 3, 2018, 10:50 PM | Updated: Jun 7, 2022, 4:01 pm

Keith Pugmire led a volunteer effort to help neighbor Kathy Felt out of her wheelchair each night....

Keith Pugmire led a volunteer effort to help neighbor Kathy Felt out of her wheelchair each night.

(CNN) — Kathy Felt can’t get out of her wheelchair under her own power to get into bed at night.

But the 66-year-old is a beloved figure in the neighborhood she’s called home for almost four decades. So for the past 10 years, a rotating cast of volunteers have showed up nightly like clockwork, lifting her into bed and tucking her in.

This is how folks care for each other in Sandy, Utah, just south of Salt Lake City. The nightly ritual enables Felt to avoid nursing homes and sleep in her own bed.

But the volunteers find it equally uplifting. Some 60 men are on a schedule to visit Felt two at a time. Even more neighbors want to help.

When asked how she feels about this outpouring of help, Felt says, “It just makes me feel very humble.”

A mom’s greatest blessing

Felt was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1978, when her two sons were little.

The neurological disease can affect vision, balance, muscle control and other essential functions. As it took a toll on Felt, her sons Chad and Todd embraced more responsibilities.

By 2006, the disease became so debilitating she needed help getting in and out of bed each day. Her sons made 10-minute drives, twice a day, to help.

“It was for about a year and a half or so, maybe even more. They were getting me up in the morning putting me to bed at night,” Felt says. “My greatest gift and my greatest blessing of all has been my two sons.”

But the schedule was grueling, and Felt began to contemplate moving into a nursing home.

That’s when backyard neighbor Keith Pugmire stepped in. He knew nursing homes are expensive.

“We just got together as a neighborhood and church group and said, ‘What can we do, Kathy, to help you and your family out?'” Pugmire tells CNN.

“It was determined that the best thing we could do is have a couple of men come in each night and help her.”

Pugmire and Felt didn’t agree upon just how long the arrangement would last.

“He said let us do this for as long as we can,” Felt says.

That was 10 years ago.

A neighbor’s well-orchestrated plan

Pugmire and Felt have been backyard neighbors and friends for 38 years.

Pugmire, 65, an executive with Recon Dynamics, an asset management company, figured out a system to help Felt.

“It started out with a core group of 20 to 30 people,” he says.

Those people included friends, neighbors and at least a dozen men from Pugmire’s men’s group at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He showed them how to lift Felt into the bed and gave specific instructions about charging her wheelchair and making sure her medication and water were in reach.

Pugmire eventually began using a free online management tool to coordinate his growing list of volunteers.

“We had no problem getting the men. As a matter of fact, we have a hard time scheduling everybody,” he says.

Felt’s sons still come over each morning to help her out of bed.

Pugmire cites the 1969 song, “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,” by the Hollies as inspiration.

“We’re all here together, and we should help each other on the journey,” he says.

A special bond

Felt is eternally grateful for her team of angels, which includes three close girlfriends who have been shopping and helping her out with housework for years. But her army of volunteers and their families are genuinely grateful for her, too.

“So many people have been inspired by her story and her courage in the face of such devastating health challenges,” says Pugmire.

Felt has made a point of remembering everyone’s birthdays.

“I always try to remember birthdays and to get them a little card, a treat or a little gift,” she says.

Some of the volunteers’ children have also formed special bonds with Felt.

“Some of them have developed a friendship with Kathy and done pictures or letters, which she hangs up on the wall in her home,” Pugmire says. “In a lot of ways Kathy has become part of their family.”

As for Felt, she is overwhelmed with gratitude for her neighbors.

“I’m just so grateful for the friendship that I have with them,” she says. “You just can’t put a price on that.”

™ & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live


An Indian Space Research Organisation rocket carrying the Chandrayaan-3 moon lander lifts off from ...

Kristin Fisher and Jackie Wattles, CNN

Why it’s so difficult to land on the moon, even five decades after Apollo

Hundreds of thousands of miles beyond Earth, a phone booth-size spacecraft is en route to take on a challenge no vehicle launched from the United States has attempted in more than 50 years.

11 hours ago

Several dog owners in Las Vegas are accusing a groomer of mistreating their pets. (KTNV)...

Alyssa Bethencourt, CNN

Owner claims dog was paralyzed at Las Vegas grooming shop, others come forward with similar claims

Several dog owners in Las Vegas are accusing a groomer of mistreating their pets.

11 hours ago

Nichole Schmidt, mother of Gabby Petito, speaks alongside, from left, Tara Petito, Petito's stepmot...

Dakin Andone, CNN

Parents of Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie set for mediation in emotional distress lawsuit

The families of Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie are set to attend a mediation conference to resolve a lawsuit.

13 hours ago

Joe Biden...

Katie Lobosco, CNN

Nearly 153,000 people will get email that their student loan debt is canceled

Nearly 153,000 student loan borrowers currently enrolled in a new repayment plan launched by the Biden administration are expected to get an email Wednesday notifying them that their remaining federal student loan debt will be canceled, totaling about $1.2 billion.

14 hours ago

Inside the habitat, the CHAPEA 1 crew conducts "Marswalks" (left) and grows crops using a system wi...

Ashley Strickland, CNN

Want to live like a Martian? New NASA mission puts out call for applicants

For anyone who has ever dreamed of living on Mars, NASA is seeking potential “Martians” for a simulated mission to the red planet.

15 hours ago

Yuki Matsui of the San Diego Padres. (Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images via CNN Newsource)...

Nathaniel Meyersohn

Why the new Major League Baseball jerseys have players and fans furious

Major League Baseball players will be wearing new jerseys this season. Some fans and players already hate them.

15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Neighbors Have Been Helping a Woman Who Uses a Wheelchair Get In Bed Every Night For 10 Years