Jeff, our family member, friend, co-worker, neighbor and schoolmate, is one of many who lost their home and possessions in the fires that have recently ravaged areas of Southern California. Many of you know this is not Jeff's first brush with adversity. Only a few years ago, he suffered a debilitating stroke, leaving him paralyzed on one side of his body. The outpouring of love and support for Jeff at that time was amazing. His recovery has been remarkable, but incomplete, as he still requires 24 hour care.
On December 5, 2017 at 4:30 a.m., Jeff was awakened by loud door knocking (in the home he’s lived in for over 30 years) and shouts of “Evacuate your house!” from the neighborhood block captain. Immediately, Jeff’s caregiver got Jeff in his wheelchair and before they headed out to the car, Jeff had him gather his meds, cell phone and a metal box containing important documents. They drove away from the fast-moving fire coming over the hill, to a local grocery store parking lot to wait, expecting to return to the Santiago Estates home once the danger had passed.
Unfortunately, that time will not come since Jeff’s home and at least two dozen others in his community are totally or partially destroyed. Some of Jeff’s greatest material losses include his vast album collection, photographs of family & friends, his computer, keepsakes from living in his hometown of the Chicago suburb Lombard, Illinois, mementos from Willowbrook High School and SIU college days and his 33-year math teaching career with LAUSD. Of course, we can all agree that Jeff’s safety is paramount to the situation and he is most grateful in that regard. However, the emotional toil and stress is heartbreaking.
You could support Jeff’s healing process by making a GoFundMe donation and then sharing it with your network. The money will be withdrawn directly by our friend and brother to help fund his rehabilitation, find new housing, purchase medicine, and replace such things as his clothes and electronics.
Please find it in your heart to give what you can to Jeff as he continues his path to recovery. That's what family, friends, Co-op kids, classmates and co-workers do. Jeff is one of our own.
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