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Local man returns home to care for foster mother

Local man returns home to care for foster mother

Winnie Phillips and Kevin Walls pose at their home in Waterford. Walls was recently featured in the National Enquirer's "Acts of Kindness" column for taking care of his Phillips, his foster mother.


POSTED March 26, 2010 11:07 p.m.
Waterford resident Kevin Walls found his 15 minutes of fame recently when he was featured in the March edition of the National Enquirer. Among headlines about cheating celebrities and photo spreads of the best and worst beach bodies,  Walls told the story of his love for his foster mother.
Walls contacted the National Enquirer to tell them his story for the “Acts of Kindness” section. Walls said that he was abandoned by his mother in Turlock’s Broadway Park, along with his three brothers, when he was three years old. His mother did not show up for her court date, and the boys were taken in by Child Protective Services. He was separated from his brothers and went to a group home in Modesto.
Walls said that he was rescued at age 8, when he met his foster parents, Don and Winnie Phillips. Walls was the Phillips’ 35th and last foster child, and they raised him until he graduated from Hughson High School.
Walls said that his early life with his birth mother was rough, and that her husband often mistreated the children. He was thankful to find foster parents like Don and Winnie, who taught him the meaning of love.
“Not many people get lucky like this,” Walls said.
After high school, Walls moved out of the family home in Waterford. He moved back in 2006 when Don Phillips died. He said that he made a promise to take care of Winnie Phillips, the loving mother who raised him. Walls said he put several thousand dollars into renovating the home where he grew up in Waterford so that his foster mother would have a nicer place to live.
“They showed me love here as a little boy,” Walls said of his home.
Walls takes care of his 89-year-old foster mother, who has Alzheimer’s Disease, 24 hours a day. He also takes care of her 93-year-old sister, Myrth Crim. Walls makes sure that the two women get their medication, and he does their laundry. Crim is able to get around well on her own, but Winnie needs help with eating, bathing and other daily activities.
“I just want to show that elderly people don’t have to live in nursing homes,” Walls said.
Walls also drives the women to and from their doctors appointments. He laughs about being their personal chauffeur, and compares himself to a character in “Driving Miss Daisy.”
“I drove these two ladies up to Murphys in a Mercedes. One was hot, one was cold, it was a long ride,” Walls said.
Taking care of two people full time can be a challenge, and Walls admits that he doesn’t get much time to himself. However, he said that taking care of Winnie Philips is the most rewarding experience of his life. The experience has taught him how to care for other people, and how to love. It has also taught him to let go of some of the anger he felt over his childhood experiences, and to forgive his birth mother.
“She probably went through a rough life. I just want her to know we forgive her,” Walls said.
To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail agoodwin@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.
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