Wendall Needs Us To Serve Him Now!

$115,520 of $117,000 goal

Raised by 1,982 people in 2 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
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Created September 26, 2018
Fundraising Team
on behalf of Wendall Gill
WENDALL'S TRAGIC STORY

This is a bit of a difficult story for me. I swear I cannot do this man justice, but, I want to try. This page is about a terrible loss. I learned of  this and it just simply broke my heart. It's concerning one of the most gentle souls I have ever known and I just think people need to know this man's story and will want to help him as I do. I met Wendall in June, 1978 when I went to work for my first job; McDonald's on Richmond Road, in Lexington,
Kentucky.

Nearly my first day I met Wendall; the man that kept the lobby of the store clean. If ever you have been in this particular McDonald's I am sure you have seen him. Wendall is quiet, reserve, unobtrusive... and even meek. He goes about his work, taking care of the people. The coffee is poured; trash is removed. Wendall keeps this store as clean as any store around. I guarantee if Wendall is on duty, you will have a nice place to have your breakfast, lunch or dinner. Wendall was already roughly 45 when I met him more than 40 years ago. He was my co-worker. 

Today he is still there taking care of the people at age 85. I saw him recently when I stopped in for breakfast. I have always looked for him; all these years. When he walked over, It took a split second for me to see something was wrong, but just a split second. It was pretty obvious. He was sullen. He was empty. His eyes nearly tearing up.  

WE JUST NEVER KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON IN PEOPLE'S LIVES

"Wendall, how are you?" I asked. With two boys watching the conversation from a nearby table Wendall paused and told me he had lost his wife recently, suddenly. Boom!

He had told me of his wife Della (age 83) many times in causal conversation. They were happily married for more than 68 years (almost unheard of today). Della was his swan; his soul. Wendall is devastated; lost; totally empty now. Nothing is left (but he still has to be strong).  Della died just not long ago; late August, 2018. This is fresh. It just happened.

The story gets worse though. It turns out that she and Wendall had run some errands early on of Wendall's few days off and they stopped by the McDonald's Wendall works in for an early meal and the poor, sweet lady went to the rest room, and had a stroke caused from a burst aneurysm while in there. Paramedics were called and they came. They ran her to the closest hospital, and she managed to live only a day or two; but never woke and died in late August. Think about this for a moment.

This is the hardest part of the story to me. Wendall has to keep working right there in the store, walking past this restroom, cleaning it daily. This is what the man does. This memory of what happened in there will never leave him I fear. And, he cannot leave the store. He has no money. He has to keep going... he has to keep strong. He has to keep working. I cannot even imagine the torture.

WENDALL HAS TO BE STRONG FOR HIS BOYS. HE NEEDS OUR HELP.

Even now, the story is going to even take another difficult turn.

Wendall has two grandsons that he and Della adopted years ago; both of who are special needs people. Wendall is a father now in essence. I did not know them, but both of them were sitting right there in the store as Wendall was telling me the story. I saw them there but I had no idea they were related to Wendall.

The oldest; John; is 33 years old. He has Autism. The youngest, Justin; a sweet kid appears to be 12, but in fact is 20 years old. He suffers from what is called Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. This is an illness brought on by being born to an alcoholic mother. John Columbia (33) Justin Gill (20) Wendall Gill (85) and Todd (me) Della and Wendall were to basically parents again. They planned this out. Did all the legal work. They adopted these two boys who are "men" now. And now Wendall is charged with taking care of them on his own.... at 85, having just lost his wife of 68 years.

Wendall has no money. With a small life insurance policy for Della, they scraped together barely enough to bury her. To add insult to injury, I have recently learned that they had plots they were paying for in a cemetery that I guess has been a part of some type of scam. She is buried there but the company that they were paying vanished with the money that was left for a headstone (more on that later).

So I thought I would post the story on Facebook. Well, the comments and the ideas have been amazing. I am running with every good idea you can share with me. You have done so much. I am overwhelmed. LETS BLESS HIM IN A SMALL WAY. I THOUGHT; would it not be nice if we did something to show him (that despite this terrible tragedy;;despite all this heart ache; despite the fear of the unknown) that we love him and we want to serve HIM! I began this goal with one goal... but the support has been so overwhelming that I have decided to ask for some more help.

MY GOALS FOR THE CAMPAIGN

(DONE!!!!!!) ------ FIRST, I would really love to see if we could raise enough money to pay off his van; the vehicle he uses with his boys. He owed $27,200 and I am pleased to say that he paid it off this past week due to YOUR generosity.

(DONE!!!!!!) ------ SECOND, I would like to see if we could raise extra month to get Della a nice headstone. I have been told that one of his biggest woes is the fact tat he is not able to even mark where her grave is. No one knows where she is even buried. I AM SO HAPPY TO REPORT THAT ONE MAN HAS STEPPED FORWARD TO PAY FOR THIS. We have a headstone marker picked out. Will have that ordered this coming week.

(DONE!!!!!)------ THIRD, as I have told before, he has two cars on which he makes payments. He has since made arrangements to turn the more expensive car in to the bank.  Della will not need a car to drive. He is still making payments both of them. He owed far more on it than that car is worth. Near as I can calculate, I think he is probably $13,000 upside down in that vehicle. I do not want him to worry about this money. My goal is to raise that money for him with this campaign. I am pleased to report that we have made plans to pick up that car at Park Community Credit Union in Lexington, and pay it off. I would like to add that the people at Park Community Credit Union have been amazing to work with. They even took $2,000 off the balance of the loan to help Wendall. When did you ever hear of a bank doing such a thing. I am so pleased about this.  UPDATE: WE PAID OFF THIS VEHICLE YESTERDAY!!!!

(DONE!!!!!)------ FORTH, I would like to pay off Wendall's house. The man owes about $74,000 on his house so I have added that amount to his "wish list". I want to pay if off. He is 85. He needs to retire. He really needs to worry about the boys... and not does he have enough money to live off of in his McDonald's job. I want him to quit worrying and have some time to grieve. He is so sad. And, once he is gone, I want to know that these boys have a place to live.  I also want to thank the man from the state that has stepped into to help the boys, to make sure they have all the services they are eligible for.

(DONE!!!!!)------ THE BIG PICTURE IS I WANT HIM TO BE ABLE TO RETIRE 
I guess really my hope is for Wendall is this. He is 85.

He really needs to retire. Tomorrow is promised for none of us. He really needs to spend time with his boys and just heal... and not worry about where they will get their next meal from. By accomplishing these three goals, we will be taking $1,200 a month off his bills (his two car payments). He only earns about $600 a month at McDonalds. So it is possible that his meager income will allow him to retire. Even if he chooses not to, at least he could. He should not be worrying right now about where is every dollar going to come from.

That is my prayer. He is so hurt. If you drop by McDonald's, and see him there... say hello. Tell him how sorry you are for his loss, and how much you love him and how much you pray for his strength, and peace.  GOD BLESS YOU ALL: WE ARE SUCCEEDING IN A HUGE WAY! This is all God; not Todd.... I was just a tool.

YOU people are the ones making this a "God thing" to me. When I began this page, I set a conservative goal of $1,000 for the page. Then the Herald-Leader article came and the community responded in such a big way. I raised the goal to $2,500, then $5,000... and the money kept flowing in. I knew we needed to do more. I just did not dream it was possible. So, I up'd the goal to $27,200 to pay off the van. That was my first big hope. Wow. That was raised fully by Sunday, 10/7. I told the family I am not done. I want to get Wendall out of the other vehicle, and now, we week later we have done that. He is out of both vehicles (by this coming Wednesday), and you generous people have already allowed me to raise maybe another $60K to put towards Wendall's house. What a blessing you are. This poor man and his boys are going to be so blessed I think with another $15K we can pay off his house and he can rest and grieve and take care of the boys. God Bless! you ALL! Todd

WENDALL RETIRED 3 WEEKS AGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I spoke to him just today. It is wierd for him he says. He does not have so much to do. The boys go to day care 3 days a week now, and so during the time they are there (which is when he was working) he does not have his time so tied up. He can pause, slow down, take a breath.

God is good.


MEDIA, ARTICLES, ETC

The story has been picked up by so many publications, television, and radio stations. Included is the Lexington-Herald, the Washington Post, Inside Edition, the Paducah Sun, WVLK, MSN, People Magazine Online, Tops in Lexington, and various news stations around the country. Donations have come in from all over the country including DC, NY, CO, CA, WI, KY (of Course), TN, and other locations.

If you would like to read the story that the Herald-Leader ran on Wendall;
click >>>>> Herald-Leader Article 

The Washington Post wrote an article as well. To view it;
click >>>>> The Washington Post Article 

The Follow-up Kentucky.com on Wendall is Here;
click >>>>> Kentucky.com Follow-up Article (10/17) 

WKYT News at 6PM Report on 10/17 can be viewed;
click >>>>> WKYT News Report 

WKYT News Followup Article can be viewed;
click >>>>> Follow-up Article 

WLEX News at 6PM Report on 10/17 can be viewed:
click >>>>> WLEX Story 

Inside Edition did a nice story that was posted 10/22. This can be viewed;
click >>>>> InsideEdition.com Story 

Pictures from the Wendall Gill Appreciation Party can be found on Tops in Lexington. 
Click >>>>> Tops In Lexington 

Herald-Leader Ran a Follow-up When Wendall Turned in His Notice. 
Click >>>>> Most Recent Herald Story 

ACCOUNTING FOR FUNDS

$27,200 -- Van - Paid off. DONE
$   3,500 -- Headstone - DONE OUTSIDE of CAMPAIGN
$13,000 -- Jeep - Paid off. DONE
$74,000 -- House - Paid off. (75% there)
$   1,000 -- Wendall's Party & Other Necessary Expense
-----------
$115,200 Total Needed to Be Raised

CONTACT TODD
Todd Oldfield
859.533.5195
todd@toddoldfield.com
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WENDALL NEWS - CHRISTMAS! Ok, I was asked to turn it back on. I did. I must tell you all about what has happened today.

This kind of story has to be told.

This morning I decided to turn back on fundraising so that I could raise a little extra for Wendall and the boys for Christmas. The previous goal of $115,200 I raised to $117,000. I figured that this would provide them with more than enough money for Christmas this year. Right? That's roughly $1,700. Wish I had that. Right? Who could not pay for their Christmas with $1,700.

Well, here is what happened. And I think we each need to learn from this story.

Immediately, small amounts started flowing in (thank you to each of you). Nearly immediately we had $500 of the goal raised. Then a $2,000 contribution! WOW! I was blown out of the water. I was very skeptical since it appeared to me that the money was coming from abroad somewhere. So, I left the account open.

Then, a $5,000 contribition came from the same person after she and I spoke by email. $5,000!!!! We spoke back and forth and I asked her to call me. I also spoke to GoFundMe about these contributions. They appear real. She then told me by email that she was going to make one more contribution. Another $3,000.

This lady contributed $10,000 to Wendall's Christmas. Now, while you cannot see her name or personal knowledge because she wishes to remain anonymous, I do have her contact information. She did call me. I could not take the call so I called her back.

We spoke for 30 or 40 minutes and I have to tell you, I think she is legit. I think this dear hearted soul just contributed $10,000 to Wendall's Christmas.

Here's the politically delicate part of the story I have to share. She's a Muslim in London, England. In our conversation we talked about all the media negativity and hatred people have here about her people. We talked about my own personal experience in living with and housing a Muslim boy while he was in college for almost a year . She told me of all her lovely Christian and Jewish friends.

This wonderful woman who does not even celebrate Christmas as we do, make this amazing generous act for an American man and his two special needs sons.

I have no idea if all this I just shared is politically correct; and the fact is .... I could care less.

Regardless of faith or geography or what we know or think we know of people of any faith....

this woman had love in her heart. Please never think that one faith or the other is good or bad. Never look down on a soul.

God Bless my new friend for what she did for Wendall.
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Wendall News: Sorry it's been a few weeks since I updated you guys. The whole while this has been going on has simultaneously been my busy season at work. So, I am just about to lose my mind of course.

Wendall seems to be ok. He has retired now and spends a lot more time with the boys. They are so happy to have him him. I think now that the fanfare has gone it's way and now that he has a little time on his hands; the loss of his wife, Della is playing on him a lot.

He does not seem to be completely healthy to me. I do not know.

I am inclined to turn fundraising back on. I have been thinking that I would love to see that this poor little family have a decent Christmas? What do you think?

Do you think we could raise a $1,000 for their Christmas?
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WENDALL NEWS! Well, his final day is just a week away, on Tuesday, November 13th. Drop by to see him if you can. We did want to have a final fairwell party for him next week, but that idea was poo-poo'd. Oh well. We can still drop by for a visit.

I have to tell you about something just amazing to me. You probably know that I am Wendall's personal mailman. Seems like every Tuesday & Thursday I have to run by McDonald's and drop off more mail for the man. REALLY! Enough is enough! LOL

Actually, I love bringing him all his cars. Today was especially special. I want you to see what came. It came from such a particular group; Paul Mitchell the School on Boston Road in Lexington. This is the place that teaches students how to become hair stylists, I think. I just do not know what it does for sure... but look what they did. There must have bee 75-100 cards, each handwritten and so personal. I just LOVED reading through them with Wendall this morning.

I just wanted to publically thank the sweet people at Paul Mitchell the School! You rock!

With these cards, I am guessing Wendall has received close to 200 cards from his fans! Love you all!
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WENDALL NEWS! One more surpise event being scheduled for Wendall. Yesterday I received a call from a man in Lexington who wanted to do something for Wendall. We don't have all the details completed yet, but, what do you think? A party on Wendall's last day right at McDonalds? That was the idea.

Now, admittedly.... I am tired. But Lord help me, people love this man. So many people have shared with me such warm feelings. How could I say no?

We just never know who are friends are. Last night I was asked to share the story at my regular South Lexington Lion's Club meeting (I am a Lion. GRRRRR).

I told the story and my brothers and sisters decided they want to do something. So, the Lions will be out in force at this party, taking donations for Wendall; and get this, our chapter has committed to making a matching contribution of up to $1,000 for Wendall.

I am so excited to share this news. You know, it will not hurt for him to have a few dollars in the bank heading into Christmas with these boys. Right?

So, I will be conveying the details in later updates, but on Tueday, November 13th, if you live in Lexington, please drop by and give Wendall one last hug.
------------------------------------------
Today the Lexington Herald ran another lovely article on Wendall. I added the link to his page, but you can also click it >>>>>> https://www.kentucky.com/news/local/counties/fayette-county/article220863110.html
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$115,520 of $117,000 goal

Raised by 1,982 people in 2 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
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Created September 26, 2018
Fundraising Team
on behalf of Wendall Gill
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