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Signed poster at center of dispute

Remember the uplifting story last month about Robert Griffin III spending a few moments at training camp with a woman who was turning 100?

The popular Washington Redskins quarterback came over to the wheelchair of Georgia Poole, talked with her a few moments about everything from faith to football, and signed a poster that stated: “Redskins’ biggest fan is turning 100.”

That poster has become a contentious issue.

Poole lives at Heritage Hall Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in King George County. Her family members say the poster was taken from her room on Aug. 2, the day after Poole met RGIII.

Helen Poole, her daugher-in-law, said a director at the home told her she wanted to display the poster for the home’s 30th anniversary celebration on Aug. 3.

When that event came and went, the Pooles said they were told the poster would be framed and given to “Miss Georgia” on her 100th birthday, on Aug. 26.

Miss Georgia’s poster still isn’t in her room.

While her family says she’s an easy-going person by nature—who would tell them not to make a big deal of things—her grandchildren are quite upset.

“My brother [Lamonte] and I feel that she is being exploited,” Aaliyah Haise, Poole’s oldest grandchild, told The Free Lance–Star.

Haise said she saw the poster in the dining room on Labor Day and that her grandmother had been told “she can see it whenever she wants.”

“Everyone knows that eventually the poster will have monetary value because RGIII’s autograph is on it,” Haise said. “The nursing home should not benefit from Grandma turning 100 and her favorite player signing it in good faith believing it was for Georgia Poole.”

Haise and her mother both said workers at the home told them the poster wasn’t Miss Georgia’s property in the first place. Because an aide wrote the words on it, the paper belongs to the home, Haise said they were told.

Jennie Rowe, the administrator at Heritage Hall, scoffed at that. She said it wasn’t true that the home wanted the poster for the anniversary display, and she didn’t know it had been promised for Miss Georgia’s 100th birthday.

“Of course it’s hers and we’re going to frame it for her,” Rowe said. “We’re safekeeping it for her in the office.”

Rowe also said she was “baffled” by the fuss made by the grandchildren and wondered why no one spoke directly to her.

“They don’t visit that often,” Rowe said about the grandchildren. “I’m surprised they’re so interested now.”

Helen Poole said she’s like her mother-in-law, not one to fuss about something as basic as a piece of paper. When her children got upset that the poster wasn’t back in Miss Georgia’s room, Helen Poole responded: “What do you want me to do? Take it to the high court?”

But she agreed with her children that it was “the principle of the thing.” The nursing home “should honor what they told her as far as framing it and giving it back to her. My kids are upset because they know [RGIII] signed it for her.”

Rowe said the poster is in the office of the director of nursing, waiting to be framed. When asked why it’s taken more than a month to get a frame, Rowe said the director is busy and probably just forgot.

“Now that it’s been brought to my attention that they want it done now, I will go this weekend and do it myself personally,” Rowe said.

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425