For 20 years, gospel deejay Vickie Jones reached out to listeners, encouraging them and caring for them through the airwaves on WOKS-Foxy 105. She knew many were lonely and depressed.
“I love you and you can’t do anything about it but love me back,” she’d say each day as her signature sign-off. On Wednesdays, she played older gospel tracks from the likes of Roberta Martin — ‘‘people who’d gone on,” she said.
Jones gave listeners her phone number, in case they needed a shoulder to lean on after hours.
Now Jones needs that love back in a real tangible way. The Liberty Theatre will host a musical benefit for her Sunday.
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Last July, Jones had her right leg amputated at St. Francis Hospital by Dr. Leland McCluskey. A diabetic for 34 years, Jones inherited the disease from her mother. Both she and her sister died from it. An infection crept into Jones’ leg.
The Sunday benefit will help Jones get a prosthesis; Medicare pays for 80 percent, but 20 percent will cost $1,700, she said.
“It’s awful how much these things cost,” said Jones. “But when you get diabetes, you have a chance of losing (limbs).” Since the surgery, she’s not been able to work. (Jones also held down a second job, at Wolf Camera on Airport Thruway.)
She asked one of her two sons, Donelle, and his family to move south from Virginia, to help out. In a wheelchair, Jones expressed frustration in doing simple tasks, like getting food out of the refrigerator. Grandchildren Donelle Jones and Shytazia Jones, and their mother Lavonda Jordan, round out the family.Praying for serenity
A member of Tabernacle of Praise Church of God on Macon Road, Jones is a woman of faith who has recently struggled with that faith.
“Sometimes it gets a little weak,” said Jones, a Phenix City native. “Like (last) weekend. I had my crying days. ... I used to go to a lot of singings and concerts and I love to shop.” She misses her job and the sense of fulfillment it gave her. She finds it difficult to listen to the station these days. She has hopes of going back one day. Another passion is photography, particularly weddings.
Her cousin, Deloris Thomas, helped organize Sunday’s concert.
“She’s been sort of down,” said Thomas. “I tell her, ‘There’s a lot of people who love you.’ ”
Among the performers Sunday: The Five Trumpets; Beverley Hammonds; the Hebrew Travelers; Darrell Williams; Sounds of Joy; Mia and Norman Chadwick; Betty and Carolyn Scott; the Faith Worship Center International Praise Team; and the White Chapel CME Church Gospel Choir.
“I got anybody I could get,” said Thomas. Michael Sapp of WOKS will emcee, assisted by former station employees Angel Anderson and Robert Edmonds. Thomas got 400 fliers printed, and 100 cardboard posters.
“I want her to get out of that house,” said Thomas, who shares her cousin’s dreams of being more mobile.
For her part, Jones prays for her condition to improve. Vastly.
“I just want my organs to be healed and my organs to work,” she said. “I heard a prayer one time — the Serenity Prayer: ‘Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.’
“I think about that. I ask the Lord to help me accept this.”