64
64
7

Carmen Garcia's home purchase

$7,760 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 68 people in 21 months
Created November 27, 2017

Carmen Garcia and her son Dalton lost their home earlier this year. Since the 2008 financial crisis their modest home in Summit, Illinois had been underwater. Attempts to refinance were unsuccessful. After years of mounting debts, taxes, inflexible bankers, and freak flooding (adding more structural damage to the home), Carmen and Dalton decided their best option was to walk away from the crushing and growing debt and start over. We want to help them do so.

Our connection to the Garcias? Carmen came to the U.S. in 1984 fleeing widespread political violence and chaos in El Salvador. She was aided by a national faith-based network of which our church, St. Francis House Episcopal Center, was a part. Carmen was seven months pregnant when she arrived here in Madison, Wisconsin. Dalton was born in Madison in October that year. They moved to the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago where Carmen became an active member of St. Pius V Catholic Church. She married and bought a house in Summit, Illinois . In 2006 she quit her job and for over a year cared full time for her husband who had suffered a brain hemorrhage following a fall. He died in 2007. Since the financial crash of 2008 she and Dalton have struggled to make ends meet. Carmen works in food service at a senior living facility. Dalton has some experience in real estate and is currently working for a title company.

Dana and I have kept in touch with Carmen from the very beginning. We are godparents to Dalton. We have, over the years, been able to help with small amounts of money to help with various expenses, school supplies, heating bills, rent payments, and the like. We have always wished we could do more.

And now we can. In addition to helping them directly because of our own good fortune, we are reaching out to some of the churches, institutions, and individuals who participated in the network that aided Carmen and so many other refugees years ago. And with this GoFundMe campaign we are appealing to family, friends, and interested individuals to join us with whatever level of help you can afford. We also ask that you please share this link with your family and friends. Our goal is to help Carmen and Dalton start 2018 on sound enough financial footing to make a home purchase possible.

We haven’t been able to scratch the surface of what amazing people Carmen and Dalton are—hard-working, kind, resilient, and after years of struggle, deserving of some good fortune. When Dalton told us earlier this year of their decision to walk away from the impossible position dictated by the bank and to literally start over, Carmen, (who is Tom's age, 63) was understandably depressed by the prospect. Dalton’s steadfast conviction that they could and would start anew and make their way was incredibly inspiring to Dana and me. It seemed to us the quintessence of the American spirit. We’re proud of them and feel blessed to be able to help.

Thank You!

Tom Waselchuk & Dana Johnson

P.S. History and background: Carmen was one of thousands of refugees fleeing political violence in El Salvador C.A. in the 1980s. The Salvadoran Civil War began after a 1979 military coup brought the Revolutionary Government Junta to power. Catholic activists protested against the junta's oppression of impoverished citizens. Óscar Romero, the Archbishop of San Salvador, was assassinated on March 24, 1980, while saying Mass. On December 2, 1980, four Catholic missionaries from the United States working in El Salvador were raped and murdered by five members of the El Salvador National Guard. In December 1981 the Salvadoran Army brutally murdered over 800 civilians in the village of El Mozote. The details of all of these and other crimes are easy to find; suffice it to say that Salvadoran government, army, and National Guard activities created chaos, terror, and a flood of political refugees. In June 1984 Carmen fled the country leaving her daughter, Iliana, behind with her parents. She was seven months pregnant when she waded across the Rio Grande River into south Texas with all her worldly belongings in a plastic bag. The faith-based Sanctuary Movement facilitated Carmen’s arrival in Madison. Dalton was born there in October.

Carmen was reunited with her daughter in 1985 and the family moved to a small, run-down apartment in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, a poor and violent area at the time. Carmen became an active member of St. Pius Catholic Church. Years passed and the family scraped by. In 2002 Carmen married Carter Richard Hansard, and they bought a small house in Summit IL. In 2006 Carter fell and suffered a brain hemorrhage. When his VA medical benefits ran out Carmen quit working to care for him. He died in December 2007.

And then came the crash of 2008 and the downward financial spiral outlined above began. Carmen has continued to work in food service at senior living facilities with low wages, no benefits, and no sick leave—and finally an unsustainable mortgage.


 

Tom Waselchuk & Dana Johnson

+ Read More
It gives us indescribable satisfaction to report to you that, thanks in great part to your generosity, Carmen and Dalton Garcia are the new owners of a lovely home.

Last week the Garcias closed on a single family, 1040 sq. ft. home with three bedrooms and single bath. It’s a well-kept house in the Archer Heights neighborhood of Chicago, northeast of Midway Int’l. Airport. It has a detached garage and a small yard. The house was built in 1957 (about the same time as our house) and is in very good shape. The previous owner lived in the house for 40 years. The house and neighborhood are very nice. The Chicago Transit Authority (the “EL”) is just around the corner, making it convenient and easy for Carmen to get around. Homes in Archer Heights are expected to rise in value next year at nearly twice the rate as in Chicago as a whole.

Although the wheels turned more slowly that we thought, we had always encouraged Dalton to take his time with the search. He did a great job of waiting for the right pieces to fall into place.

They are moving in as I write. We are hoping to get down there soon for a visit. If we do, we’ll post a photo or two for you.

Once again, thank you for your kindness and support for this project.

Sincerely,

Tom Waselchuk and Dana Johnson

P.S. House warming gift donations welcome!
+ Read More
We are all, Carmen, Dalton, Dana and I, very moved by the outpouring of kindness and help. Perhaps a lull in donations is to be expected as the holidays approach, but we'll be contacting another group soon—area churches and their members—who participated directly in the Sanctuary Movement in the mid 1980s. In the meantime, please know that any size donations is important and helpful, and sharing this information with your friends and family is critical if we are to achieve our goal. I, personally, am not a social media animal. But I know that successful campaigns depend on "viral," exponential sharing. So my plea to share is every bit as sincere as my plea to contribute. Many Thanks. Tom.
+ Read More
I'm searching for contact information for Madisonians who were active in the Santcuary Movement back in the mid-1980s. There are still a lot of people who would, I think, be inclined to help, if only I can find them. Can any of you visitors help me with that? Drop me a line.
+ Read More
I've added to the general narrative some details about Carmen's early story—her flight from her war-torn country of El Salvador and her first years in the U.S.
+ Read More
Read a Previous Update

$7,760 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 68 people in 21 months
Created November 27, 2017
Your share could be bringing in donations. Sign in to track your impact.
   Connect
We will never post without your permission.
In the future, we'll let you know if your sharing brings in any donations.
We weren't able to connect your Facebook account. Please try again later.
$50
Tom Waselchuk
9 months ago
JM
$90
Jonathan Melton
15 months ago
CL
$20
Chris Lucas
16 months ago
$25
Anonymous
17 months ago
JP
$25
Jill Peckenpaugh
17 months ago
DM
$200
Duane and Peggy Marxen
17 months ago
LS
$50
Linda and Dean Simpson
17 months ago
$50
Anonymous
19 months ago
SM
$100
Stef Moritz
19 months ago
LL
$75
Lisa Levy
19 months ago
or
Use My Email Address
By continuing, you agree with the GoFundMe
terms and privacy policy
There's an issue with this Campaign Organizer's account. Our team has contacted them with the solution! Please ask them to sign in to GoFundMe and check their account. Return to Campaign

Are you ready for the next step?
Even a $5 donation can help!
Donate Now Not now
Connect on Facebook to keep track of how many donations your share brings.
We will never post on Facebook without your permission.