I've been doing a pretty good job of working my way through life for half a century, ever since I got my first summer job during high school. I've never been rich, but I've managed to make enough to take care of our relatively simple needs. My wife had a small yarn shop for many years, but is no longer in business. We live pretty simply, with very minimal expenses compared to "average" Americans.
By education, I’m a geologist and worked as one for a while for a few years. After working at a few other jobs, I got hired as a carpenter, and spent about 13 years in that trade, working for a couple of small contractors, working as a union carpenter, and being self-employed. About a decade into that stretch, someone asked me to design a home for them, which I did, and then others began asking for home designs and plans. Eventually, I put down my construction tools and went with the designing and plan drawing, which I am still doing. I've been pretty successful at this until the housing market crash of 2007 along with the financial crisis and global recession that has affected pretty much everyone. Since then, things have become increasingly more difficult. The economic downturn and slow recovery have seriously impacted the amount of work I've gotten, which has greatly reduced my income. Because of this and other reasons, we are now seriously struggling financially.
As my wife and I are aging, we've had some health issues that have both cost money and impacted our earning ability. In 2006 I had a stroke. More recently, my wife had breast cancer and had a mastectomy. This spring I had to have emergency surgery for an incarcerated (strangulated) hernia. Fortunately, we have both recovered very well from these. Now, however, my wife is succumbing to Alzheimer's, which is becoming increasingly more challenging for us. Although we have had our own health insurance for decades, it was expensive with a very high deductible, and we lost it a couple of years ago because we just couldn't afford it anymore. At this point we still don't have any coverage.
Additionally, our daughter and grandson have been living with us for a few years now. Her ex-husband did pay a very small amount of child support in the beginning, but has been a real deadbeat and paid absolutely nothing for a decade. Although our daughter is working full time, raising a son who has recently become a teenager is a significant expense for all of us, even with clothes and other things from garage sales and Goodwill. Now our daughter needs some surgery and will have to miss at least a couple weeks of work. And her car just got towed to the shop because it won’t shift into any of the forward gears.
Over the years, I have contributed services, some money, and lots of personal help to others in many ways, and I've always really enjoyed and appreciated being able to do that. I strongly feel we are all in this together and that we all get along with a little help from our friends. Ultimately, we are all family. Now, as things have turned out, I'm in need of some generous help myself. It's always hard to ask for money. I know, though, that a lot of friends and strangers would gladly help if my old truck needed a jump start, or if I needed help with cutting, splitting and stacking firewood, or if I needed help shoveling snow. I suspect that contributing some money to our cause is probably an even easier way for many people who would like to help us.
Right now I'm hoping to quickly raise at least $7000.00 so we can meet some immediate expenses, including RE taxes I owe for our home. That will still leave me with some other debts to work on, but I'm hopeful I'll eventually be able to take care of them. We’re just not able to get through this current situation on our own, though, and we're looking forward to some help from our friends.
Many thanks for considering our situation and for any help you might be able to offer.
- Steve Piragis
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