Mississippi honors couple served by Saint Francis

This story comes from the State of Mississippi’s Department of Mental Health, where they’re #CelebratingMississippians as part of the National Developmental Disabilities Month. This week, they honored two people Saint Francis Ministries serves in its residential facilities, Bridgeway & Cheshire. We’re honored and grateful to serve people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. See more stories on Mississippi’s website. 

Carol Sewell grew up in Ocean Springs and moved to a home in Picayune, where she received Supervised Living services through the ID/DD Waiver in 2000.  Shortly after Carol moved in, she was named Queen at her group home’s Beauty and Beau pageant, and that’s when she met Paul Breland, who was named King. The two remained friends, and eventually, Carol convinced Paul to join her on Thursdays for bowling with her league.  The rest, as they say, is history! The two have been in a relationship for twelve years, and in 2018 began renting their own home and receiving Supported Living Services.  The services provide limited support from staff who help Carol and Paul access their community to pay bills, shop for groceries, access medical care, and other personal assistance as needed.

The move to their own home took time. Carol and Paul worked hard to ensure they had the skills to live more independently. “I wanted to make sure I could do it,” Paul said. “It was a big decision, but I knew I wanted to have my own home.” With permission from their landlord, the couple have painted several rooms of their home in bright, cheery colors. “It was too dark in here for us,” Paul said. “We painted the wood paneling and the kitchen cabinets. We love it here!”

Paul and Carol are just like many other couples. “I do the cooking and sewing, and Paul mows the grass and works in our garden,” says Carol. “She keeps me fed well,” Paul said. Carol’s cooking skills are a result of years working in the restaurant industry. She currently divides her time between two fast food restaurants, earning enough money to assist with her rent and bills each month.  Paul is employed by a local grocery store in Picayune, where he is loved by staff and customers alike. He also works at the First Baptist Church, helping with setting up chairs and tables for events, lawn maintenance, and cleaning their chapel.

Carol’s mother and father and Paul’s mother have passed away, but both say they know their parents are proud of them for living an independent and fulfilling life. “I always prayed I’d make my mom proud,” Paul said. “I know she’s looking down on me and is happy about my life.”

March is Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (ID/DD) Awareness Month. In our state, we are #CelebratingMississippians with ID/DD and encourage you to recognize their unique strengths and contributions! #DDAwareness 2020          

Picture of Beth Cormack
Beth Cormack

Beth is the project manager for the Saint Francis Ministries Marketing and Communications team.

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