A Single Father's Struggle

This is my friend, Jon Zimmer and his girls, Aela (5) and Esme (6). He lives in Price Albert, SK, Canada. I have known him for over a decade and his friendship has changed and enriched my life in myriad positive ways that I can't begin to enumerate. Truthfully, I can't do justice to him or his situation. But I will try:

He's basically the embodiment of Nick Offerman's philosophy that every one should paddle their own boat. And he does that. He is an involved father and a steadfast provider. An entrepreneur. A homeowner. A motorcycle enthusiast. A ride or die kind of friend that would give you the shirt off his back. He's not a saint but he's a decent man.

If you were to ask him about himself he’d say something like, “As white guys go, I’m pretty run-of-the-mill.” And he is on the surface. He “does dumb white guy things and has dumb white guy thoughts and lives the dumb white guy life,” (His words). But, I've never heard or witnessed him being cruel or predatory to the weak or dishonest with the innocent and ignorant. I've never known him to welsh, renege, or skip out on his responsibilities. I look up to him. He's a better man than me and that he keeps me around as his friend is testament to his willingness to lift others up to his level. Underneath his lack of fashion sense, tattoos and self-deprecation is a heart the size of an elephant's (and not just as a result of all the red meat).

His problem is that in the course of navigating through life, he has hit some whitewater. He's been embroiled in a legal battle with his ex for years now and it has taken a toll on him financially and emotionally. It is coming to a head for him and he's beginning to feel like the fight is hopeless.  Now his pride and his personal philosophy are a barrier to his peace of mind.

The mother of his children continually uses them against him. She is an able bodied person of normal intelligence, but believes that it is his duty to not only support his children (which he does without fail), but to also support her lifestyle which includes: not maintaining permanent, gainful employment, frequently moving without informing him of her whereabouts and often with new men, speaking ill of their father, and shaking Jon down for money whenever she has squandered his substantial financial support by withholding the girls from him in direct violation of their legal custody agreement. 

He's done what every devoted father would do. He has fought. He has submitted to her demands in an effort to keep the peace and keep himself in his daughters' lives. He's been the bigger person. He's reached out to the authorities for assistance, but the fact is: in the jurisdiction in which he resides, the outdated laws and statutes unfairly benefit women like his ex. He's behaved ethically and it has gotten him into a tough place.

As a result of the aforementioned legal situation in which his ex tried to take away his parental rights with the help of a legal-aid attorney (remember she doesn't work), he was able to secure an agreement that she can't deviate from and which is supposed to prevent her from demanding money and moving the children around, etc. However, she's once again back to her old tricks and he's staring down a huge legal debt and is contemplating, among other things, liquidating his worldly possessions and entertaining the notion that none of it has been worth it, as he is in worse shape than before.

I desperately want to help him with his situation. Even though he doesn't think he deserves it. My heart breaks for my friend when I hear the despair in his voice and I can't just fix this problem for him on my own because I'm just a regular working schmuck like he is. We all need a break sometimes. But he's too proud to ask. So I will do that for him, because despite his earnestly-held belief in individuality, we are all part of a community. And we're all a part of each other's lives. He thinks he doesn't matter and that his struggle doesn't matter and I want to show him that it does. I want to show him that he does.

He needs $20,000 CAD (about $15,200 USD) to cover the cost of his legal fees and obligations and to give him some financial breathing room.

$8,000 CAD court fees.
$6,750 CAD in lawyers fees.
$5,250 CAD to get caught up with bills he's fallen behind on.

He desperately needs this help immediately as he has payments due to the court and lawyer soon.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope that you can find it in your heart to send anything you can spare to help save a good father, a good friend, and a good man.

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Jason Cunningham
Auburn, ME

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