Just about everyone who has been to our house in the last year has probably had an opportunity to meet Joey, Macarthur's after-school aide (PCA). One day in mid-August he was here, helping me take care of Macarthur, when he looked at his phone and suddenly jumped to his feet. His house was on fire, he announced, and then he *asked* if he could leave early.
Needless to say, we sent him home, but sadly, there was little he could do. By the time he arrived in Douglas (about an hour away) the house was a total loss. He and his girlfriend, Karyn, have lost everything -- though fortunately, Karyn was able to rescue their dog and cat.
Macarthur, Dan, and I first met Joey a couple years ago when he started driving Macarthur's bus for school, and it was immediately clear that he was going to be a friend and a positive influence. When last spring we let him know that Macarthur would be missing school for his big spinal surgery, Joey immediately asked how he could help. On a whim, I asked if he'd be interested in working for us that summer as Macarthur's PCA, and he jumped on the opportunity. He made a HUGE difference in Macarthur's recovery. I truly can't understate how much his ever-present calm, strong back, and creative mind made last summer better for our entire family.
In the fall last year, Joey applied for (and was offered) a job as an aide at Wilson Middle School here in Natick, and continued to be Macarthur's aide after school here and at Chess Club (and he didn't even get combat pay for the latter). He genuinely loves his job and it's been a joy watching him take on these new challenges, always smiling, always chill, always pushing forward.
Dan, Macarthur, and I really want to help Joey get back on his feet. They lost everything -- clothing, electronics, furniture -- all of it. When I spoke to him the week of the fire, he said he was trying to look at it as an opportunity for them to have a complete "do-over".
My hope is that all of you will help us help him make that happen.
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