Work Thoughts: A Surprise in Madisonville

This was the story I covered on Monday, December 20th. It was an honor to be a part of something so special for a family in Madisonville. In television news, we sometimes miss the small things that have the biggest impact on people.

At the heart of most journalists, in my opinion, is the ability to see the people through the story. I can get caught up on the smallest, insignificant detail sometimes and miss the heart of a story. My goal is to try and see the forest and the trees.

(The following is the article I wrote. I’ve disabled comments on the blog. If you want to leave your thoughts, I would ask that you visit this story at and leave your comments there.)

Madisonville Family Receives Christmas Surprise
by Michael Oder
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They say it’s the season for giving and we’ve certainly seen it in action this month.

But when one mother in Madisonville received a life changing diagnosis, her family stood by her side. Now the entire community of Madisonville is standing with them.

If you would like to help out the Roundtree family, please visit this site setup for them.

When 31 year-old Roxanne Russell Roundtree and her family arrived at the Kimbro center Madisonville, they knew it was a special day.

They didn’t know how special.

“We work with our local branches to identify a family or organization that may not be as blessed as we are,” says Steven Boyd, CEO of Guardian Healthcare.

“This is a way for us to give back to that local community.”

Roxanne worked as a nurse for Guardian Healthcare for about a year. In 2008, she was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS. The caregiver was now in need of care.

“Now, to have the tables turned it’s hard,” says Don Roundtree, Roxanne’s husband.

“We were together when she was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease and it was a hard process,” remembers Sara Hudson. She worked with Roxanne.

“You have to admit your mortality. And Don has had to quit his job and he his a full time caregiver. He goes above and beyond 24-7.”

Each year, around the holidays, Guardian Healthcare adopts one family. The employees at Guardian went with one they’ve shared the struggles with.

“It has been overwhelming the pouring out of support from the community,” says Crystal Callaham, the Madisonville Branch Manager of Guardian Healthcare.

During the ceremony, Boyd explained that the Madisonville community raised over $14,000. Guardian Healthcare matched that, dollar-for-dollar.

Roxanne Roundtree’s life is different now, as she battles ALS, but what she might not know is, so is everyone else’s.

“She’s full of energy,” says Callaham.

Just for the chance to meet a woman who cares deeply and gives everything she can.

“I had some patients call her an angel,” says Don.

Her community is happy they can give something back.

The amount of money they raised surprised everyone. Friends say the support for Roxanne, Don and her three young sons spread like wildfire over social networks like Facebook.


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