Kindness of strangers leads to medical help amid Hall power outages
Generator keeps child's feeding device working
Kate Lovell's foster child, nicknamed Piglet to protect his identity in the state's foster program, looks at the gas generator being set up by Ciji Tlapa. Piglet was born premature and needs a battery-powered feeding tube. - photo by Nick Bowman

Outside of the occasional taste of bacon, 1-year-old Piglet’s diet is a continuous feed from a machine fitting inside a backpack.

His foster mom, Kate Lovell, put out a call on social media for a generator to charge the machine after the power went out Monday afternoon.

“It’s not like a cellphone where you can only charge it for an hour and then it will work for a couple of hours. It’s one of those things where it needs to charge all night to be able to carry you through the next day,” she said, adding she has kept it charged as much as possible ahead of Tropical Storm Irma.

Piglet is a medically fragile foster baby with lung problems, “as well as many other issues due to prematurity,” Lovell said.

Because the child is in the Division of Family and Children Services’s care, he is not being identified. Lovell often refers to the almost 2-year-old as Piglet.

Other foster parents and Lovell’s friends reached out across social media to find someone with a spare generator, which led Lovell to Ciji Tlapa, of Loganville.

“They live far away, so this is totally awesome that they’re doing this,” said Lovell, who received the generator Tuesday afternoon.

Tlapa said she had the resources to help and would “throw it in the car and come on” to Gainesville, a 45-minute drive.

Tlapa is a newborn and family photographer, and her husband Michael Tlapa owns Millennium Material Handling.

“We had one bar left, and it’s being plugged in right now so it will be completely ready to go for dinner,” Lovell said Tuesday afternoon.

Others around Gainesville are making quick plans for other medical issues, with no guarantee of power returning soon.

David and Anita Hulsey on Monday lost power, which is vital for David Hulsey’s CPAP machine for sleep apnea.

Anita Hulsey described the night as “waking up every few minutes, wondering if I shoved him would he respond.”

In an email Tuesday afternoon, Jackson EMC said it was the company’s goal “to restore most Jackson EMC members’ power within 24 hours.” From talking with neighbors, Hulsey said it may take even longer.

The Hulseys said they were going to try to make alternative plans, more than likely involving family nearby.

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