In life, one could expect some hardship, However, some encounter more than others. In fact, no one has an easy life. Easy lives are recounted in fairy tales with “once upon a time”, and “happily ever after”. But they are just that, fairy tales. Let me introduce you to Roy and Betty Shahan. Their hardships began when Roy was 5 and Betty was 4 years old. They were both injured in a house fire in 1964, and suffered 3rd degree burns over at least half of their bodies. Roy’s injuries included the arms, back, and head, while Betty’s were sustained over her abdomen and lower extremities. As a result, they both endured lengthy hospital stays and multiple (even life-saving) surgeries. As the years progressed, they would require some additional surgeries, but I digress. While they both dealt with their injuries physically, Roy also developed some intellectual delays. Currently, at age 61, he works in a sheltered employment environment where he sorts recyclables. Roy is a fun loving guy, with an amazing personality, but he is unable to live independently. So in 2005, when his mom passed away, his sister Reba assumed caregiving responsibilities, and continues today. From 2006 to 2016, Reba would find herself unemployed for approximately 7 of those 10 years. During this time, as you might imagine, when things in the home would break, they would remain so.
Fast forward to now. In November of 2018, Betty, also being disabled, moved in hfor extra help due to her ongoing issues related to unhealed wounds, hospital stays for infection, low iron, and dehydration. In January of this year, the siblings decided to sell the family home. In late September, they earnestly sought a buyer. To their great joy and surprise (despite the condition of the house), they did so in 3 days. The sale closed on October 24th. After satisfying loans, and taxes, their net was approximately $7,300.00 from a $37,500.00 sale. All while preparing to physically vacate the family home lived in for 50+ years, they looked for a new place, and believed they found a house to rent in their budget, in a good area. They pursued the rental and had zero misgivings about the person claiming to be in the military, and how we were to handle the transaction to rent the home. They were emailed ownership papers and a copy of the "owner"/landlord's passport after all parties electronically signed a lease agreement to rent the home. Reba verified everything as diligently as possible. He assured them that he was very trustworthy. In transacting the business, payment was requested by Cashier's Check, but in the interest of time, Reba queried about a quicker payment method to expedite the process. She was told a bitcoin transaction could achieve this, and $1,550.00 (sent via BitCoin) would satisfy the rental deposit. Being unfamiliar with BitCoin's nuances, $1,640.00 was actually sent, but email messages assured a refund of the overpayment. An additional $1,800.00 was sent subsequently because his CO needed proof that he legitimately required the time to come back to "give us the key", and this with the previous amount they sent would pay the first three month's rent. Their last communication with the prospective landlord stated he would fly out of Jacksonville and arrive by noon on the 29th of October. The writing on the wall was obvious when the deadline passed and communications ceased.
With nowhere to move, they rented storage facilities, and have been staying in hotels since November 2nd. Some of the hotel fees have been covered by their church and other concerned friends, but they have covered the rest. Additional expenses have arisen during this time, including, but not limited to, the boarding of animals and vehicle repairs. With a loss of $3,440.00, they are certainly experiencing another hardship. They know they are not the first, nor will they be the last to be victimized in such a manner. They have since been approved to rent a mobile home, but it is not move-in ready yet, pending connected electricity and final inspections. Would you be willing to help with their "Happily Ever After"?
- Connie Pollock
Organizer and beneficiary