CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – They are eleven women who believe one hug can change a person’s life forever.
We were there as the Grandma Unit received The Empowerment Award from the YWCA.
Karen Smith said, “I go through the community, like the grocery store, and they’ll say, ‘There goes one of them grandmas from the G-Unit.”
The G-Unit was sworn into the Charleston Police Department in 2016.
Each woman, at some time in her life, was a victim of chronic homelessness, elder abuse, or domestic violence.
“I’ve been through a lot in my lifetime,” Anita Britton said. “I’ve been abused by two different guys because I was married to them. One is still living. The other passed away. So, basically, I’ve been by myself for about 27 years.”
Ms. Britton and the ten other members of the Unit never have to worry about being alone again. They call the YWCA home now.
“It makes me feel great,” Britton said.
Their motto? ‘Here’s a hug. Spread the love!’ And boy, do they mean it.
Smith said, “Sometimes you have to go up to them if they don’t come up to you. But, after a hug and the initial hello, they warm right up to you.”
The G-Unit’s story has been featured on the national stage.
Police departments across the country have reached out to Charleston’s to ask how they too, can form their own unit of compassionate grandmothers. In the end, the difference they’re making in our community is always at the forefront.
“If I can help one person along the way, then my living is not in vain,” Smith said.