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'I can't love anyone more than I love her': Georgia firefighter cares for 100-year-old grandmother

"You can't just say I love you. You have to show love," Tony Ford said.

WILKINSON COUNTY, Ga. — Julia Ford is about to turn 100-years-old.

"I started cooking when I was nine years old because mom and them had to go in the fields and I had to see about the little kids," she said.

From her perch on the front porch Julia can tell all kinds of stories.

"I had some good years and I had some rough years but I made it," she said.

She made it for the last two decades or so thanks in part to Tony Ford, her grandson.

"I've been with her going on 18 years now and it's just like when I was growing up and I wouldn't have it no other way," he said.

Tony came to live with Julia as an infant, after his mom left Georgia.

"She moved to New York for a better life," he said.

Tony can't imagine having a better life. He grew up on the 12 acre plot of land and then retired from the Navy and finished out a career of service as a Macon-Bibb firefighter.

He says Julia taught him the lessons of kindness and community.

"She taught me to love and I can't love anyone more than I love her because of the love she gave me when I was growing up," he said.

He cooks, cleans and at night listens to his grandmother play the guitar.

"I don't play the blues," Julia said. 

"And I look around and I tell her all the time I say 'Mom' I says 'you is blessed some people can't even walk as half as you, can you can go fishing, you can throw out your own fishing rod and you pull a big fish in,'" Tony listed.

Tony says she doesn't pull any punches either when it comes to telling him what to do in the garden and he says he wouldn't have it any other way.

"When you that age, you have to show love. You can't just say I love you. You have to show love, you have to make them feel wanted, you have to make them feel needed," Tony said.

Family is always going to be tight but this takes it a step further because Tony and Julia are two people at their most vulnerable stages fighting and caring for each other.

Tony will retire from the Macon-Bibb fire department in April.

As for Julia, her birthday is on Saturday and her church is going to dedicate a park to her.

It will happen at Balls CME Church at 1:30 p.m. They will also have a balloon release.

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