Annie Jones Colson has spent her life helping others.

After growing up in Elroy, Bastrop and East Austin as the eldest of eight children, Colson, 81, went to beauty college and styled hair for two salons in the University of Texas campus area.

She worked on circuit boards for Texas Instruments for 13 years, then at Motorola for 15 years. Colson served as secretary of her congregation, Greater Love Baptist Church, for decades, and after retirement she became a school bus attendant.

For as long as she can remember, Colson and her family have collected blankets for the homeless and purchased gifts for schoolchildren who otherwise would not have received any. Colson used her contacts in the tech world to raise modest amounts of money to help fund these efforts.

“I try to be helpful, kind and caring,” says Colson quietly. “It’s a lot of hard work, but we’ve enjoyed it.”

Now it is Colson’s turn to need help.

In 2013, her son, Earl Colson, had a catastrophic stroke after laboring in many fields, including his own cleaning service. His recovery was slow, and it was not until last year that a feeding tube was removed.

Earl Colson, 58, mostly uses a wheelchair these days. The Colsons need help making their suburban, one-story house accessible for Earl. The existing doorways, passageways and bathrooms are narrow. The front yard doesn't have a wheelchair-friendly sidewalk. Many more small adjustments would make the Colsons’ living circumstances a lot more manageable.

Earl tries to do daily chores, like dressing himself. Yet Earl, who is 6 feet, 2 inches tall, needs more assistance than his mother, who has problems with her thyroid, can provide.

“We had a caregiver,” Annie says. “Couldn't afford to keep a caregiver anymore.”

Her niece, Cheryl Reese, helps out a lot. She picks up medicine and shops for groceries. Annie's sister, Cordia Hill, does what she can as well. They drive to Round Rock, where Annie and Earl live, from Bastrop County and the Springdale area of East Austin.

“Earl is going through so many different treatments,” Annie says. “I really need full-time help.”

Make a donation to Season for Caring: or mail it in to Austin Community Foundation, c/o Statesman Season for Caring, 4315 Guadalupe St., Suite 300, Austin, TX, 78751. Make checks payable to "Statesman Season for Caring."

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