Lee now lives in Alabama, but he was born and raised in California and graduated from Woodlake High School in 1990.
He was the only child from the marriage of his mother, Patsy McKinney and his father, Frank Thatcher.
Patsy had 2 children from a prior marriage, Linda and Terry McKinney. However, since they were both adults when Lee was born, he was basically raised as an only child.
It seems that Lee has been riddled with bad luck all his life. We were recently made aware of his latest troubles and were asked to set up this page by Mr. Frank Ainley, one of Lee's high school teachers and coach.
Lee's father, a Woodlake Fireman, was diagnosed with cancer when Lee was a small child. He died when Lee was only 6 years old.
It was a very tough adjustment for a first grader.
Then, to make life even more difficult, his mother became extremely ill when he was barely a teenager. She was finally diagnosed with "Amyloidosis".
This is a very cruel and painful disease.
Lee was forced to watch her suffer greatly for several years before she died, leaving him orphaned at the age of 16.
Since both Lee's parents had suffered from long term, costly illnesses, there was no money left for Lee to inherit. His half sister, Linda, took custody of him until he turned 18.
After graduating high school, Lee stayed in the area for a while before moving to upstate New York, where his half brother Terry lived.
He was still trying to find his place in the world. While living there, he learned to operate heavy equipment and eventually got a job in Alabama with a land developer.
It seemed that things were looking up and soon he met and married the love of his life, Tammy Norwood. They settled in Bessemer, Alabama where he still lives today.
In 2001, they discovered they were expecting twins! A girl and a boy!
Lee was "over the moon" happy!
Then, in April of 2002, the twins Ethan and Emily were born 6 weeks premature. Needless to say, they spent weeks in the NICU before coming home.
This was a very difficult time, but they managed to get through it. They got back on their feet and once again life was good!
His happiness was short-lived as tragedy struck once more. Tammy was driving home from work one day, when a drunk driver in a 4x4 truck, crossed over the line and hit her head on.
Tammy DIED that day!
Lee was devastated and left to raise his 18 month old twins with no support system to help him.
From that day forward, it has been a constant struggle to make ends meet. He understandably fell into a deep depression and had trouble finding and or keeping jobs.
When looking for work, he would explain his situation and let them know that he was on his own with 2 babies. If his babies should get sick or for any reason couldn't attend daycare, he would have to take time off to care for them.
This didn't go over well with employers.
If he was hired at all, he would be the first one laid off when things slowed down, because he was considered unreliable.
His kids are his world and his priority.
He has never gotten over the death of his wife and has never re-married.
Things only got harder as the kids grew up and wanted to participate in sports and activities.
They are now 15 years old and attending high school.
Just recently, his car broke down again. This time it appears to be beyond repair.
He lives in a very remote area, miles from town. This has made it impossible to get back and forth to work, let alone doing every day errands.
He has been forced to walk 6 miles round trip to the nearest grocery store. His home has been without water for 2 weeks due to a broken pump which he can't afford to replace.
He has no savings and no local support system.
If you know Lee or remember him from school, you know what a good, kind hearted man he is.
He just never seems to catch a break!
So, I am asking all of you who may know him or remember him
to please help if you can.
Let's show him some love and let him know he's not alone!
Let's make this happen for Lee and his children!
They really deserve a break!
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for taking time to read his story.
If you can't afford to donate, please say a prayer for his little family and for our success with this effort.
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