For more than 20 years, Arthur Turner, 56, of Kettering has volunteered at homeless shelters, advocated for economic development in Prince George’s County and negotiated with landlords to help families facing eviction.
Now, the well-known community activist faces home and health issues himself, and the community he’s helped serve have organized a fundraising campaign to come to his assistance.
“When you see someone who has done as much as he has to help others, a selfless giver, you ought to do what you can to help them when they’re down,” said Terry Speigner, who launched a GoFundMe campaign for Turner.
Turner said he began to step away from his leadership positions with the Towns of Kettering Home Owners Association and the Coalition of Central Prince George’s County Community Organizations last year when he learned a tumor on his adrenal gland, which regulates hormones, had enlarged and needed to be removed.
He was advised to lower his blood pressure before the surgery, but a series of unexpected events only caused his blood pressure to spike, Turner said.
“I’ve been stressed,” Turner said. “I’ve been tested, but God helps those who remain strong in faith.”
His town home suffered fire, smoke and water damage from his neighbor’s house fire in April and the following month he learned the tumor was cancerous.
Turner said the time spent away from work caused him to lose his job as a county liquor inspector and along with it his health insurance.
And in the morning of June 9, Turner woke up to discover his leg was severely swollen, possibly from an insect bite, Turner said, and he was admitted to the hospital for treatment. Since he started physical and occupational therapy, Turner said his mobility has improved.
“I face some challenges but I’m not down. I’m not out,” Turner said. “I’m getting stronger and I’m working toward the day when I’ll be riding tall in the saddle again.”
Speigner, the former chair of the Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee, launched the GoFundMe campaign July 19. So far the campaign has raised close to $7,000 — almost half of the $15,000 goal, according to the GoFundMe page.
“I was surprised,” Turner said. “I can never express the depth of my appreciation for those forms of love and admiration and respect that people have shown to me.”
Norma Lindsay, the former chief liquor inspector, said Turner would never ask anyone for help, so when she found out about his situation, she had to make sure residents knew about it.
“He has done so much for the community,” Lindsay said. “It takes a village to help people. It’s time for the village to step up right now because he needs us.”
To donate to the GoFundMe Campaign, visit http://www.gofundme.com/bsxyi4 or mail a check to 1101 Mercantile Lane, Suite 100, Largo, MD 20774 with the memo “Arthur Turner donation.”