Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How Christmas works

I volunteer with Col. Potter Cairn Rescue Network.  We work to rescue and rehome those 'Toto dogs'.  We not only pull or take surplus dogs from overburdened shelters, but we rescue those from 'puppy mills'.  I  promise to write a separate blog on that evil soon but right now, I wanted to let the world know that we also use our collective experiences and resources to help the '2-legs' a.k.a 'humans', even ones we have not met and known.

I am posting the plea and the letter of thanks here in this blog because it involves a serviceman and his family.  Within 24 hours, a flood of suggestions and resources as well as checks flowed in.  What a wonderful bunch of people are in Col. Potter Cairn Rescue Network.  Some wrote that their families had enough and that they would send checks for what they were thinking of spending for gifts and explain it to their relatives what they'd done.

A plea came to our 'list' that read as following:

The plea:
I know I don't post here often. I'm more of a lurker and reader and help when I can-ner. A situation has come up and frankly I've run out of ideas to help.

My sister, Elizabeth (who helped Kathy Hunt with a transport once) is in dire need. She and her husband live with her Iraq war veteran son (my nephew Matt) in a little frame house in Dixon, MO. Mike is a schoolteacher and works a 2nd job driving a cab at Fort Leonard Wood. 

Elizabeth got laid off from her job of 9 years at a local bank, and due to her severe C-spine and leg swelling issues cannot get employment anywhere else. Matt suffers from polytrauma (TBI, PTSD, etc.), and is waiting ... and waiting ... and waiting for the VA to grant his disability. 

In the meantime, they have fallen behinder and behinder on bills to the point where they now have NO HEAT in their house. They are behind on their propane bill and the propane company will not even do a partial fill until they pay the past due balance. They don't live in a big municipality, so they don't fall under the laws protecting people from having utilities turned off. I was able to get an Edenpure heater donated to them, and that keeps the pipes from freezing, but that's about it. She has a gas stove so no cooking other than in a crock pot, electric skillet or microwave. They don't qualify for utility assistance because Mike makes too much gross pay as a schoolteacher (but the mandated teacher retirement takes out 14% of his pay automatically). I have contacted every agency I could think of (Salvation Army, churches) ... 

I even posted requests for donations online (yes, I'm not above begging in this instance). It is 19 degrees there tonight, howling wind and snow. Does anyone know of any agency, organization or anyone who can help them? It's a crying shame that in this day and age a veteran who has served his country honorably is either homeless or living in a house without heat while the VA drags its feet until April or May to decide to award his disability. 

Sorry to vent here ... I'm just so upset and feel so helpless ... sigh.

Everyone here is so resourceful at ferreting out information ... I've looked until my looker is sore and am running into one brick wall after another. Any ideas???

The Update: 12.15.10
Little did I know when I posted my request for ideas to help my sister, her husband and their Iraq war veteran son with their heat emergency what would result. Thanks to the generosity and kindness of multiple CP volunteers, Elizabeth and Mike's past due propane bill has been paid, and enough funds paid to the gas company that they are coming out either today (or tomorrow morning) to put enough gas in the tank to get them through the winter.

Words simply cannot express both my (and Elizabeth's) appreciation to the greatest group of people I have ever known. You helped in the names of nephews and grandsons who are also serving in the military (like Matt), or just because. Those who wrote with ideas and links to websites, or just to express their outrage over this situation - you were able to find more avenues to explore that I had not, and for that I thank you.

When I was talking with Elizabeth just last week about what she, Mike and Matt wanted for Christmas. I really hadn't gotten the Christmas spirit - it seemed so inane to me to buy them gifts when (as Elizabeth said), all they wanted for Christmas was to be warm. Well thanks to the CP elves, they will be warm, and Elizabeth will be able to bake a turkey in the gas oven that has stood idle for over a year.

Elizabeth was talking to Sandra at the gas company, who was not aware of CP or cairn rescue. Elizabeth lives in the middle of puppy mill central (mid-Missouri), and now one more person knows about CP and its good work. Sandra was simply amazed at the generosity and thoughtfulness of people whom Elizabeth has never met. She is considering contacting the television station and newspaper in Springfield (the local newspaper is pretty useless) to tell this story.

Thank you, thank you, thank you CP. I am inordinately proud to be part of such a wonderful group of people.

Olathe, KS

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