UPDATE 6/24/13 11:30 a.m.
MILTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A man whose story drew a big response because he didn’t have a way to call for help when he was trouble now has a cell phone.
Back in March, WSAZ.com reported an incident where the man, with an oxygen tank, was pulled over on the side of the road waving for help when he had car trouble.
The man, who asked not to be identified, did not have a cell phone.
It was a stressful situation for him because he had a sick child in his disabled van with him.
WSAZ alerted him to The Assurance Wireless Program.
The cell phone recipient told WSAZ.com the phone has "has helped tremendously."
Saying when he goes out he is not afraid to be by himself. He can call home if he has to or call someone else if he needs help.
The Assurance Wireless Program provides 250 free minutes and 250 free text messages to those who met certain qualifications.
Something else to keep in mind: a charged cell phone, even one that has no service, can call 911 in an emergency.
To see if you qualify for the program click on the link below.
That wasn't an option on Wednesday night for a man from Milton.
The elderly gentleman, who asked not to be identified, was pulled over on Interstate 64, in Milton, holding on to an oxygen tank, waving something in the air and trying to get help.
"All I could do is stand and wave, and it was so cold when I got out of the van to start doing this I got tied up in the seat belt and fell out right into the middle of the highway," he explained.
People who drove-by described it as heartbreaking.
Several calls were placed to 9-1-1. But not by the stranded driver. He doesn't have a cell phone. It's not in his budget.
Denise Salmons beat law enforcement to the rescue of the man.
WSAZ.com asked Slamons if she was concerned picking up a stranger.
"Yeah, it was dark and stopping to pick up a stranger -- it was different. Something told me to stop."
Salmons said at first she believed the man was in a wheelchair.
"I saw that he was in trouble and he reminded me of my uncle who is disabled and how I would feel if he was there beside the road, or myself even," she explained.
With no Denise and no cell phone and the man's health issues this situation could have ended much worse.
It's a good reminder that any cell phone, that has a charge, can call 9-1-1 even if it is not an activated cell phone.
The same is true with landlines.
There is also a government program that provides people with cell phones that have a limited amount of minutes and texts.
They are paid for through the Universal Service Fund. Some people see that fee listed on their phone bills. The Federal Communications Commission says carriers must pay the fee but they are not required to pass this along to their customers.
Assurance Wireless provides coverage in our region. You can reach them by calling 1-800-395-2171 or clicking on the link.
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