Ella Edwards, the mother of a college student who died in 2009 unexpectedly  launched an online petition asking the loan company First Marblehead Corp to forgive a $10,000 student loan taken out by her son Jermaine Edwards, that she could not afford to repay.

Edwards, a 61-year-old who works part-time as a seamstress, had gained over 195,000 signatures for her online petition on the website Change.org. Her son was only 24-years-old when he died of “natural causes” on March 9, 2009. He was studying music production.

She joined Jacque Reid  for her segment “Inside her Story” this morning on the Tom Joyner Morning Show to explain her story and plea with the loan company to forgive her loans.

After a tearful plea on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, radio legend Tom Joyner told Ms. Edwards he would pay off her son’s loan that currently totals $10,849.14.

Read the full transcript of the interview below:

JACQUE REID:  Good morning, Tom, now last Friday I brought you the story of Ella Edwards and her petition to get a private loan company to forgive her son’s student loan after her son died suddenly.  It is a $10,000 dollar debt that Ms. Edwards just can’t afford.  At 61 she retired early due to illness and Tom, now she had to go back to work as a seamstress on a line at a car company just to pay off this debt.  Now this is a private loan company that won’t forgive the debt.  By the way her son also had two federal loans that were forgiven when Ms. Edwards showed them his death certificate.  Now Tom, we tried to have her on last Friday, but she wasn’t able to take a break from work in time for us to confirm her on as a guest, but she is here today to talk to us because we really wanted our audience to hear from Ms. Edwards.  Good morning, Ms. Edwards.

ELLA EDWARDS:  Good morning.

JACQUE REID:  Now, let me clear this up, because there is some confusion.  Exactly your son is Jermaine Edwards.  Now there’s been no cause of death.  Do we know now what caused him to die?

ELLA EDWARDS:  They’re still saying he died of natural causes.

JACQUE REID:  Had he been ill or anything?

ELLA EDWARDS:  No, he wasn’t ill or anything.  He had work that day, been working, never was sick.  And he had work, he got off work and went home, you know, went to bed and didn’t get up.

JACQUE REID:  Now you and your son …

TOM JOYNER:  No autopsy?

ELLA EDWARDS:  The autopsy ruled it as natural causes.

JACQUE REID:  At what age?

ELLA EDWARDS:  He was 24.

JACQUE REID:  Now I know this has been difficult for you. Jermaine starting paying on this particular loan about eight or nine years ago and you continue to pay on it since his death, but you say it’s just still above $10,000 dollars, you’re only able to pay a little bit at a time.

ELLA EDWARDS:  Yeah. Jermaine, when he took the loan out it was for $10,000 dollars.  And he started paying on his loan I think in like early 2004.  And today, and you know, we’ve been paying on it since 2004. And today the balance is $10,849.14.

JACQUE REID:  Now why won’t, have you spoken with this company?  Why won’t they forgive it?

ELLA EDWARDS:  They said they just don’t forgive, you know, student loans.  They don’t forgive loans like this.  You know, whatever you find they say you got to pay.

JACQUE REID:  So you had to come out of retirement and go back to work.  How has that been for you?

ELLA EDWARDS:  It is so hard, I’m telling you, I just don’t feel like working.  I don’t feel like working, you know.

SYBIL WILKES:  Well, you’ve been ill.

JACQUE REID:  Well, you have challenges yourself.

ELLA EDWARDS:  Yeah, when my son passed away, I, you know, my whole world just fell apart.

JACQUE REID:  And you’ve been very stressed, in fact Tom, she’s gone to a doctor and she’s on medication for her stress.


JACQUE REID:  Ms. Edwards, one thing I wanted to clear up because you and I talked about this. You said that there was, you know, the community has followed your story and they’ve given feedback on it.  And they want to know why you didn’t use the life insurance money that you had on your son to pay off his debt?  And you wanted to explain that.

ELLA EDWARDS:  Yeah, I took a life insurance policy out on my son in 1986. And I, you know, took it out through my job.  And the payment came out of payroll deductible.  So from 1986 my payment was paid on time.  And when my son passed March the 9th, 2009 the last payment for my policy came on March the 3rd, 2009.  But when I got ready to file the claim for the policy, you know, to bury my son, and they denied the policy. They said he wasn’t eligible.  So I didn’t get any life insurance money.

JACQUE REID:  So you weren’t able to …

ELLA EDWARDS:  MetLife Insurance didn’t pay me.

SYBIL WILKES:  So you got no insurance money.

ELLA EDWARDS:  No insurance money.

SYBIL WILKES:  That you had been paying on for years?

ELLA EDWARDS:  Yeah, I’ve been paying on it since 1986.

SYBIL WILKES:  And you’re responsible for his debt because you are a cosigner on this loan?

ELLA EDWARDS:  Yes.  Yes, you know, I was a cosigner on the federal loans as well.

JACQUE REID:  But they forgave that.

ELLA EDWARDS:  But the federal loans was forgiven.

SYBIL WILKES:  Yeah.  And so Jacque …

ELLA EDWARDS:  And I don’t think, uh, you know, no one should have to pay for a loan like this that I can’t use or Jermaine can’t use.  I feel that the federal loans were forgiven then the private loan could start, you know, the private loan, it could be …

SYBIL WILKES:  Is the petition …

JACQUE REID:  Yeah, it’s with Change.org.  And what has given Ms. Edwards hope is that they collected almost 200,000 signatures, I’m sure they’ve gained more since we did this story on Friday, but Ms. Edwards, I mean, what do you think will happen once they take these signatures and turn them over to this company?

ELLA EDWARDS:  I don’t know, I’m just hoping and praying to God that they forgive his loan and forgive other parents’ loans in the same situation as I am because a loan coming from this companies harassing you for payment, it’s very distressing, it’s very stressful.

JACQUE REID:  Yeah.  You say sometimes when you’re going to be late with a payment you call them and let them know, and they still call you?

ELLA EDWARDS:  Yeah, I call and say, if I’m going to be two, if I’m two days late I call them and tell them so they won’t call me, because the calls is so stressful.  If I’m going to pay like, if my payment is due on Wednesday, if I call Wednesday and tell them I’m going to pay Friday, they’ll write that down and they’ll tell me the calls is going to continue until you pay.  And they do.  They continue to call you so, you know, you can’t work with them.  So my thing is I want all the parents to know to please be careful on these private loans, because I mean it’s a nightmare that will come back and haunt you if you lose a child because, you know, losing a child it ain’t nothing to play with.

SYBIL WILKES:  Now, I’m no Clark Howard, Jacque, but isn’t there something about if you write them and tell them to stop calling me, or you tell them to stop, they’re supposed to.

JACQUE REID:  They are supposed to.

ELLA EDWARDS:  They never stop.  They don’t never stop.  They don’t stop.  And I’m 61 years old, so I don’t know the law.

JACQUE REID:  Well, Ms. Edwards, didn’t you say someone reached out to you, there’s another family going through the same thing?

ELLA EDWARDS:  Yeah, there’s another family.  You know their son had a car accident, and they are with the same company, and you know, I’m pretty sure they’re going through the same thing because, you know, they didn’t forgive their loan either.

JACQUE REID:  What’s the name of the company?

ELLA EDWARDS:  The National Co-League Trust First Marblehead out of Boston, Massachusetts.

JACQUE REID:  It’s National what, ma’am?

ELLA EDWARDS:  National Co-League Trust.

JACQUE REID:  Yeah, all of that information, the name of the company and the details of Ms. Edwards’ story is at Change.org.  Again, that’s the organization that’s helping her with this petition.  And we don’t know what’s going to happen once they get all those signatures.  You know, Tom, one of the main reasons …

TOM JOYNER:  Nothing.  Nothing’s going to happen.

JACQUE REID:  … Ms. Edwards wanted to do this.

ELLA EDWARDS:  Nothing happened yet.

JACQUE REID:  You don’t think so?

Tom JOYNER:  No.  Nothing’s going to happen.

ELLA EDWARDS:  But I would like to say, I would like to thank all the people for supporting my petition.  And I also would like to ask the National Co-League Trust of First Marblehead to please forgive my student loan so I can find my baby, I need to find my baby.

JACQUE REID:  Oh, Ms. Edwards, we are …

TOM JOYNER:  Ms. Edwards, Ms. Edwards.


TOM JOYNER:  Would you stay on the line and give me your account number and all the information, and I’ll pay the $10,800 dollars.

ELLA EDWARDS:  Are you serious?

TOM JOYNER:  Yes, I’m serious.

ELLA EDWARDS:  Oh, I can’t believe this.  Thank you so much!

JACQUE REID:  So you can rest your soul.

ELLA EDWARDS:  I just need to find my baby, I just need to find my baby, I can’t live without my baby.

JACQUE REID:  It’s okay, Ms. Edwards.  It’s okay.  It’s okay.

ELLA EDWARDS:  Thank you so much.

TOM JOYNER:  Jacque?


TOM JOYNER:  Get me all her information.

JACQUE REID:  I have all of her information.

ELLA EDWARDS:  I want to thank all the people that supported my petition.  I thank you all so much.

JACQUE REID:  Thank you, and Tom, you know, one of the main reasons she wanted to do this was to let other parents know that to be careful of this.  You know, she didn’t want any money, she wanted them to forgive it so she could just go on with her life.

TOM JOYNER:  And they should.


TOM JOYNER:  And they should.

JACQUE REID:  Shame on them.

SYBIL WILKES:  God bless you, ma’am.

TOM JOYNER:  Stay on the line.

ELLA EDWARDS:  They ain’t good, I’m telling you.  And I didn’t know, you know, I didn’t know they was different until my son had passed away.  And I’m sure other parents out there don’t know either.  And I want these parents to know these private loans ain’t nothing to play with.  It will come back.  If you lose a child they will drive you crazy.  They have been times, I mean, all I can do is fight off not taking my own life, because this stress.

TOM JOYNER:  Don’t worry about it, don’t worry about it.  Don’t stress.  Don’t go to work today, I’ll take care of it, okay?

ELLA EDWARDS:  Okay, thank you so much.

TOM JOYNER:  Yes, ma’am.

ELLA EDWARDS:  And I thank everybody out there for listening to my story and supporting my petition.

TOM JOYNER:  It’s all right.

ELLA EDWARDS:  There are so many parents out there like I am.  And there are going to continue to be more.

95 thoughts on “Tom Joyner Awards a Tearful Ella Edwards 10k on the TJMS

  1. Andrea on said:

    I’m concerned about the update sent out on May 6, 2014 from Ella Edwards via Change.org. One of the statements she wrote is, “Now I can concentrate on finding my decease child I got to find my baby.” That strikes me as suicidal. I wish someone would check on Ms. Edwards.

  2. Pingback: Radio host Tom Joyner says he'll pay $10K debt owed by Ypsilanti woman on her deceased son's student loan | Business Loans Guide

  3. Pingback: Tom Joyner pledges To Pay Student Loan Of Deceased Student | Magic 95.9

  4. Stephanie on said:

    Mr. Joyner that was such an awsome act of kindness, that you will get that back 100 fold. I cried all the way to work. All I can say is what and awsome GOD we serve and how he places genuine people like you and the TJMS family in this world… GOD bless you and your family…

  5. Pingback: Spirit Of Giving: Tom Joyner To Pay Deceased Student’s Outstanding School Loan | Old School 94.5

  6. Pingback: Tom Joyner pledges to pay student loan of deceased son whose mother was hounded by his creditor | theGrio

  7. Maronda on said:

    WoW Tom, You are AWESOME!! You might not go to church every Sunday but I still believe your name is on the VIP list at the Golden Gate.

  8. tom i have been listen to you for years and you have always been a stand up guy am you did it once again bought joy and peace in someone life you will surely be blessed god bless you and your family now and always what great person you are thank you

  9. Charlene on said:

    Thank you Tom Joiner. I was driving to work listening to Ms Ella and could barely see in front of me because of the tears blurring my vision. I lost a child to leukemia a few years ago and my wonderful support system helped me bury him and paid for the plot next to him so I can be laid to rest beside him when my time comes. I help run a fund to partner with parents with disabled children bury their child. I felt her great pain and know her burden. i too wanted to help. You heard the heart cry of this mother. Your generosity helped relieve that burden. MAy your good work return to you 100 fold TJMS.

  10. Roberta on said:

    I was listening to this story on my way from dropping my daughter off at school and cried all the way home.I hope now that this lady can live out the rest of her life in peace.And everyone should look at what Tom Joyner did as an act of the CHRISTmas spirit.

  11. Kimberly Thomas-McPherson on said:

    PLEASE let the rest of our ‘village” help restore some light in this poor woman’s life. I cried many tears listening to her story, and while I don’t have mush, I have something I can send to her. If you cover the loan, key the rest of us cover her. She had to have more financial burdens resulting from the lack of the life insurance payout. PLEAE let us know where we can send a financial blessing to this mother….please? Bless you Mr. Joyner! Bless you!

  12. CAROLYN P. on said:


  13. God Bless you Tom Joyner !! I left my car this morning in tears, my heart was hurting for Ms. Edwards and I begin to cry harder after you were the Angel that God put into place to save Ms. Edwards. You are a caring, compassionate man and God will continue to bless you in all ways!! In this day and time you have given me hope that there is still good in people.

  14. Pingback: Tom Joyner Pays $10000 Student Loan On Behalf Of Grieving Mother |

  15. patricia on said:


    I listen to you all every morning on my way to work. Most of the time I do not want to even get out of my car because I want to continue listening to the radio. This morning was definitely one of those mornings. I was end tears by the end of this story. I know Tom Joyner is an angel for Ms. Ella. I want to say thank you Tom, and each of you at TJMS. You all are an inspiration to us all and I love listening to the words that y’all speak. Thank you for all you do and thank you for taking such a huge burden off of Ms. Ella’s shoulders. (I do not know her, but I can only imagine how much you made her day, and her life much easier.) Once again, I love listening to you all and I will continue to support TJMS. Thank you.

    Patricia C.

  16. Ella Harris on said:

    Tom can the community at large make contributions to this? I don’t have much, but I am willing to make a contribution. Also can we get the name of the private lender so that we can withhold doing business with a “not so consumer friendly” institution. Let’s help them realize the $10K potential loss can be a much greater loss. Black America let’s bind our capital resources and take them somewhere else.

  17. I listened today to Ms Edwards story and her pain from the loss of her Son and the frustrating threatening calls for a student loan payment, broke my heart, no Mother can ever imagine the loss of a child. Tom Joyner’s generous and gracious gift, made me cry and touched me deeply! You are simply the best Tom.

  18. Leave it to a Good Bruh to come through in the clinch. Lift as we climb bruh! I wish I had some real dough because I would give it right back to you Dawg. But don’t worry, the father is going to continue to bless you for that. Good shit bruh!!!

    GT from EB

  19. Alice Long on said:

    What an Awesome God we serve. Tom you are truly a blessing to so many people. i was getting dressed for work this morning when I heard the interview that Jacque did with Ms Ella. I was so upset hearing her talk about her son’s death and how she was getting constant calls from this private company in which she had co-signed for her son to get a student loan. I was absolutely flabbergasted at the way that they were treating this poor lady. But I was absolutely stunned when you offered to pay off the loan so Ms Ella could finally grieve for her son and not have to worry about this company harassing her anymore. I was in tears and praising God for an angel like you. Thank you Tom for all that you do and may God continue to shower blessings upon you. Blessing, A. Long

  20. My daughter and listen to Ms. Ella both times, the tears rolled down my face, because I wanted to call the insurance company to help fight for Ms. Ella’s money. She lost her baby, and she could not fix her sons finances. People report these kind of issues to the Consumer Federal Protection Bureau, this Gov company was established to stop companies from robbing people blind in mortgage, student loans, banks, payday loans, and credit cards. Thanks to Senator Warren of MA. Use this entity even if you you think it is small, use them to fight for you. If your problem relates to another financial entity, they will submit it for you.

    • Tom joyner, you were her knight in shining armor. Cybil, I heard you feel the pain of this mother’s pain. The tears of all our people getting robbed by banks, and other institutions. Thank you Tom for solving this issue for Ms. Ella. I am hoping her neigbohood surround her with the support she needs to sustain her life. It hurts when you cannot help a person not in your reach. Thanks for your compassion, we all need some.

  21. Jesse W. Bennett on said:

    Tom Joyner you and the TJMS family really are a blessing to the Black community. It was hard fighting back the tears after hearing Ms. Edwards story. God Bless you !!!!

  22. Andre K on said:

    I was in my car taking my son to school and had to take a moment and pull over when I heard this on the TJMS. I was in tears when I heard what has happened to this woman and her child. I was so blessed to hear Tom offer support to this woman to help her out. This is what we are meant to do … Help each other out..I couldn’t help but wonder if the 197 signatures all donated. $ 10.00 how this would have not only helped the caller but also anyone else out there who may be in a similar situation

    This should spark a movement for all families to understand this process of student loans and come up with alternative ways to help families in crisis. If there is any way WE can figure this out and have an agency help with educating our communities this would do more for our future generations …in more ways than we will ever know…..

    Thank you Tom for being a great example to the communities and giving back.

    Andre K

  23. DEEJAY on said:

    Tom Joyner, you are awesome! God bless you and your family this Christmas season. You will receive that $10,000 back 100 fold.

  24. w Boykim on said:

    Thanks Tom and Crew
    You and your show is truly a God send . That’s What we need more of Men …Black Men to lead by example…be Bless..on

  25. Keelia on said:

    This show is a blessing to everyone!! That was such a thoughtful gesture to help this woman in need. This company is shady. They were paying a $10,000 loan starting in 2004 and the remaining balance is over $10,000??!! What kind of interest was on this loan? Thank you Tom for your generosity!

  26. Carolyn on said:

    Thank you Tom for being a god sent for that mother.I was driving to work listening to your show and when I heard you tell that mother that you will pay her son’s loan off tears started falling from my eyes.you are wonderful

  27. Much love to you Tom for what you did I know that II like this show for more than the Jokes. it’s real love on this show, You & the hole Crew. “Yea I welped up too & it was worth it.”

  28. Ywinter Conner on said:

    Hello Tom, my name is Ywinter Conner and I want to commend you for doing what you did for Ms. Ella and I pray God continues to bless you.

  29. This is awesome. Thank you Tom Joyner for giving a helping hand. You have done a good deed and God is going to reward you tremendously. God has a plan for you. Keep up the good work and continue being the person you are. God Bless You!

  30. Gilda Foster on said:

    Thanks seems insufficient….thank you Tom for continually giving us hope. There are good people in the world and you are the perfect example of one.

  31. Aretha on said:

    Mr. Joyner, my name is LT Sparks and I am in the military and our job is to defend our country and to make sure our nation sleep soundly and live happy and productive lives, but never in my entire 17 years of service the military have touched the lives of our nation like you did this morning. I was in tears when I heard Ms. Edwards say that she wanted to take her own life so that she did not have to deal with those nerve recking phone calls. I had to pull over and grab a pen and paper waiting to hear a link on where I can donate to help her out, but as faith would have it God stepped in and allowed you to be a channel in which her debt was paid in full. Thank you so much for your generosity and may God bless you and yours. Continue to keep up the good work. I love you guys and more importantly I love your show. I pray that many blessings are stored upon you and yours. Happy Holiday to all of you.

Add Your Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s