Coach Terrance Ford was a Michael Jordan fan and a shoe fanatic. When heart failure claimed his life May 1, 2013, he had about 200 pairs.
Terrance’s wife, Modern Woodmen member Angel Ford, Cheraw, South Carolina, lined the shoes up in her kitchen after his death. She invited the players Terrance had coached over the years to come pick out a pair. She wanted them to have a tangible reminder of the man they respected so much.
More than 1,500 people attended Coach Ford’s funeral, which was held in the Cheraw High School gym. They had to set up monitors in the cafeteria to accommodate the overflow of people coming to pay their last respects.
“That’s just the kind of man he was,” remembers Angel. “He was always right there to help people out, to give kids a boost or to get them on the right track.”
Once the initial shock of her husband’s death had passed, Angel’s new reality started to sink in. She was a 34-year-old cheerleading coach and attendance clerk whose husband had always taken care of things. She didn’t even know what bills had to be paid, much less how she was going to pay them.
“I was so spoiled by my husband,” Angel says. “I knew he was making payments for things, but I honestly didn’t know what they were all for. I was like, ‘Oh my God. How am I going to take care of three kids by myself?’”
Then a phone call from Modern Woodmen representative Jamont McRae changed everything. Jamont hadn’t heard about Terrance’s death. He was just calling to schedule an annual financial review with the family. Like everyone else, he was shocked when he heard the news.
“I had helped Terrance put a plan together to protect his family just two years before that,” says Jamont. “Now it was time to help fulfill his desire … and the promises Modern Woodmen had made.”
Angel knew Terrance had met with Jamont. She was pregnant with her youngest daughter at the time and wasn’t sure they should be taking on another payment.
“To be honest, I didn’t know why we had to have life insurance and car insurance and this insurance and that insurance,” Angel remembers. “I’m so glad Terrance didn’t listen to me.”
I was like, “Oh my God. How am I going to take care of three kids by myself?”
If not for the generous support of her community and the protection her husband left in the form of life insurance, Angel’s not sure where her family would be right now.
“Actually, I could tell you where we’d be, but I wouldn’t want to be there,” she says. “I’d be living with my parents. I’d be struggling and living paycheck to paycheck. Or I’d be on some kind of public assistance.”
But she’s not. She doesn’t have to ask anyone for anything.
“No, I’m not riding around in a Mercedes, but I’m comfortable and my kids are comfortable,” she says.
Angel used a portion of the life insurance proceeds to pay off her house. She later added on to the house – something she and Terrance had been planning to do. She told Jamont to invest the rest of the money back with Modern Woodmen. She did the same thing with the life insurance Terrance had had through work.
Angel also worked with Jamont to make sure she has enough life insurance coverage for herself and her children.
“Not just enough to cover a funeral, because that’s never enough,” she says. “I want to have enough life insurance that if something happened to me, my kids wouldn’t have to struggle or worry about anything in life.
“You never know what the future might bring,” she says. “Listen to your representative. Take advice you can trust and make good investments.”
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Universal life insurance
Universal life insurance is a kind of permanent life insurance coverage that provides flexible protection and cash accumulation that you can adjust as your needs change.
Members can apply to receive a $200 bank card and other resources to coordinate a small-scale volunteer project with family and friends. Modern Woodmen will award up to 250 grants per year on a first-come, first-served basis.