Sarah Hardy, 68, grew up with two sisters in a loving foster home in Atlantic City. Their birth mother had intellectual disabilities, and their father was incarcerated, Hardy said.

Foster parents William and Katie Patterson, now deceased, had no biological children. They taught her compassion by their example, Hardy said.

“Whatever church function there was, we knew we were going to be there,” she said. “They supported all of our endeavors.”

So Hardy, who retired in June from her state job as an employment specialist, does what she can — even for strangers — and in spite of her own problems.

She has lupus and diabetes. Her daughter Danielle, 42, is severely handicapped and lives in an institution. Her 30-year companion Ernest Miller, 79, has Alzheimer’s and recently entered a nursing home, after she cared for him at home for years.

Hardy is helping raise money for the family of James D. “Tink” Jordan Jr., 25, who was shot and killed in August in Atlantic City. She hardly knew Jordan’s mom, Donna Purnell, when she agreed to run the benefit.

“The young man was ... an innocent bystander,” Hardy said. “His family still owes $2,700 for his funeral. Whatever we can raise is most appreciated.”

If You Go:

The Soul Food Memorial Fundraiser for the family of James D. “Tink” Jordan, Jr., will be held at 2 p.m. Oct. 5, at Millennium Cuts and Beauty Salon, 1724 Atlantic Ave., Atlantic City, $10. Food from Kelsey and Kim’s, White House Subs, Januzi’s Chelsea Pizza. Call 609-348-0937.

Artist of the year

Hammonton resident Nelson Johnson was named Artist of the Year by the Hammonton Arts District Steering Committee on Saturday at the Eagle Theater. Johnson is author of “Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City,” which inspired the HBO series; and of “The Northside: African Americans and the Creation of Atlantic City.”

Christine Castellani’s mom, grandmother and father-in-law — the boxer Rocky Castellani — all died of Alzheimer’s disease, she said.

The real estate agent, of Linwood, and co-worker Jeanne Chiaradio, hold a luncheon at the Balsley Losco office in Northfield each year to raise money for research on the brain disease. Chiaradio’s mom also died of Alzheimer’s. This year’s lunch is Thursday, and the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer's starts at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 7 at Kennedy Plaza and the Boardwalk in Atlantic City.

More stories to tell

Michelle Brunetti Post writes about the lives, careers and good deeds of South Jersey residents Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays in ‘Everyone Has a Story.’ To share your story, call 609-272-7219 or email MPost@pressofac.com