PORTSMOUTH, Va. - She may be 101 years old, but Mary Parker has no plans of slowing down.
"I got my wheelchair. I do my own cooking, my own washing and taking care of my tabby cat," she told News 3.
Parker has an upbeat and "go-getter" personality despite facing some pretty big life challenges. When she was in her 90s she said she suffered a leg injury. Overtime she lost circulation in her both of her legs and ultimately needed to have them amputated.
Misfortune once again knocked on her door a few weeks back when her water heater broke.
"It's kind of hard being housebound and not having any hot water to wash your dishes. You have to heat them on the stove and everything," she said.
She called Michael & Son Services in Chesapeake for an estimate to replace her current unit. They said it could cost anywhere between $1,800 to $2,200.
Parker said she opted out replacing her decades-old unit because she could not afford those prices, "I was going to have to go in debt to get this water heater and at my age it's kind of dangerous going into debt."
She was ready to just accept the cold water woes, but then came a stroke of good luck. Michael and Son Services decided to waive all the normal fees and give Parker a brand new 10-gallon water heater for free.
Parker said she was speechless when she found out, "it makes me feel special. In other words, it made me cry and I'm not a crybaby. I don't know how to explain it. I don't know whether there's even words to explain it or not."
The company said when they heard her story, they couldn't turn her away. A crew arrived on Thursday morning and installed a top-of-the-line water heater.
Now Parker can crochet or play with her cat knowing that the water will be warm.
She said "it's kind of shocking to know that I'm going to get it anyway even though I couldn't afford it. I'm very thankful to this company for doing that."