Delbert Williams and his wife, Sue, were devastated after receiving unexpected news from doctors that would change their lives forever—cancer. Delbert, known to many as “Del,” was diagnosed with unresectable lung cancer and when the employees at Ascentra Credit Union heard the news, they wanted to help out.
Del is a Muscatine native and served as a medic in the Army during the Vietnam War era, then worked at Kraft Heinz Company in Muscatine. Since his diagnosis, Del hasn’t been able to work, putting a financial and emotional strain on the family.
“It hit hard and we weren’t ready for it,” said Mrs. Williams.  “You have to have your time to cry a little bit, and I did. Then you have to pick up and you’ve got to get strong and fight this thing. This cancer is horrible.”
Del and his wife thought the symptoms were simply a sign of bronchitis and were overwhelmed when they found out the symptoms were cancer, but despite everything, they have kept a positive attitude.
“We’re some of the lucky ones because there are some people with cancer and it just takes them right away and there’s no fighting it,” said Mr. Williams. “At least we have a fighting chance.”
Muscatine Branch Manager Lorena Medina recommended surprising Del as part of a special project Ascentra was doing to celebrate International Pay it Forward Day. Medina invited Del and his wife to the Ascentra branch in Muscatine to discuss their struggles. During the meeting, the office door opened and a number of employees walked in and surprised them with a big $500 check.
“The amazing thing is, people we’ve never heard of or never met before are going out of their way to help us,” said Mr. Williams.
Del’s story and reaction is captured in Ascentra’s Pay it Forward video found on the credit union’s social media platforms including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This video features the team surprising shoppers, teachers, students, and organizations by paying for their groceries, coffee, and much more.
A benefit for Del was held on Sunday, May 6 from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at New Hope Church in Muscatine. The benefit included a silent auction, 50/50 raffle, bake sale, and walking tacos. Contact Sheila at 563-299-3290 for more information.