Jacqueline O. Rutland

Lending a Helping a Hand

    In today's world, it's easy to be overwhelmed by problems. Starving orphan children in Africa, hurricane victims on the Gulf and the Caribbean, people made homeless by tidal waves in Asia, all sorts of wars, genocides, famines, and the like. What can any of us possibly do?
    Well, if you're like Jacqueline Rutland, you'll take the simple approach and stick to your sphere of influence. "It's just an everyday thing," said Jackie of her propensity for doing good deeds. "When you see someone who needs help, you help them."
    Several months ago she held yard sales to help out cancer victims with no insurance. She has given money to distraught people who couldn't pay their light bill and were about to have their electricity cut off. She drives a friend to cancer treatments in Charleston every week. She has seen to it that Christmas found its way into the home of a family where someone just lost their job. Through her church, she makes sandwiches and gumbo at weekly suppers for the homeless, collects household items to send to overseas missions and spearheads the Sunday school's selection of an orphanage to donate Christmas gifts to. And it's worth mentioning that she also takes care of her mom who lives with her.
    "It just makes me feel good to do something for somebody else," said Jackie. "I'm doing okay and I feel grateful and blessed to be able to help other people."
    That wasn't always the case; Jackie has seen some rockier times in her day. She originally came to Beaufort at age six in the back of a Red Bird Taxi from Maine, and she has plenty of fond memories of growing up here. Eventually, she got married and left. But then one day, Jackie returned as a single mom with two sons. She needed a lot of help, she says, and it wasn't long in coming. She got a job at Fordham Market and was quickly embraced by the "Fordham Market family," who supported her in little everyday ways that made a big difference in her life.
    "I've been down many times and a lot of people have helped me," said Jackie, who has worked at Fordham Market for the last 34 years. "Now when I see someone in need, I like to help them in any way I can."
    Jackie says her mom was the same way, always giving and sharing. She had many different businesses in Beaufort over the years, and it was just her nature to help people in need. It was a trait she passed on to her daughter, and Jackie's life experience only serves to reinforce the commitment.
    "I've been there, where every 50 cents counted," said Jackie. "So I know where they're at, and I don't expect anything back. I just want people to have as good a life as I've had. God's been good to me."

Up Close

Hometown: Beaufort Job: manager of Fordham Market Mother of: Michael Oleson, Beaufort, and Paul Oleson, Atlanta Hobbies: gardening, cooking, sewing, and dancing Favorite childhood memory: going down to the Point, where she liked to climb up on the oyster shell wall, pretend she was a singer and belt out Tennessee Waltz Hidden talents: she's a competent plumber and electrician Way she starts each day: taking care of her three dogs, reading the Bible and sitting on the porch with her mom to drink a cup of coffee and "meditate on the day".