Tough Times In A Town Of Plenty

There are nightmare scenarios no one wants to think about.

One struck a Westport man named Gary.

His wife died 7 years ago, of stomach cancer. Their 3rd child had just been born.

Gary

Gary

Gary raised them on his own, helping them move beyond their devastating loss. Proudly, he says, they are “growing as well-rounded, loving and respectful kids.”

A sales trader who deals in equities, he works on a commission-only basis. Over the past few months, business dried up.

The family lived in a very modest 2-bedroom apartment. He fell behind on his rent. Last Friday, his landlord evicted him.

Gary is 3 months behind on payments for his 2007 Jeep too. Repossession is imminent.

Two of his 3 children are living with relatives this summer. He’s spoken to Homes With Hope, but they have no housing for a single father and his family.

“I’ve done everything possible to stay positive, and provide for my children these last few years,” he says. “But I find my back up against a wall, and don’t see any other avenues to pursue.

“My credit rating suffered terribly after my wife passed, so a bank loan is not an option at present. I hope business will pick up shortly, and we will be okay.

“I am also a realist. I’m looking for new employment, but that is not an easy task these days.”

He posted those words on GoFundMe.com. It could not have been easy to ask for help like that. But he can’t think of what else to do.

GoFundMe logo

A friend asked me to tell Gary’s story on “06880.” I called Gary, to get his permission.

I warned him that cyberspace can be cruel. Some readers might make snarky remarks about a Westporter — even one who has been evicted from his home — asking for help.

He’s willing to take that chance.

And I’m betting that “06880” readers will understand that Gary’s story could be any of ours.

(To make a contribution to Gary’s GoFundMe page, click here.)

 

 

18 responses to “Tough Times In A Town Of Plenty

  1. Jamie Camche

    Thank you for shedding light on this sad story. I will certainly contribute.

  2. What was his former line of work?? Surely there is someone in Westport who can help him find employment

    Sent from my iPhone

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    • John Karrel

      Yes, you’d think someone could use his ‘book’ of business (quiet as it may be at the moment). One hopes Gary is doing things like keeping his LinkedIn profile as robust as possible. No, looking for work is rarely easy, but there are tools available that didn’t exist a generation ago.

  3. Doug Conner

    Shame on his landlord for kicking Gary and his family out!

  4. Come on Doug, now it’s his landlords fault? I feel sad for Gary and his family but are you suggesting his landlord should suspend rent payments? I’m sure he gave Gary more than ample notice but who would it help if the landlord now goes into default on his mortgage? Maybe it would trigger a chain of events that caused more people to loose income, wages and jobs? Like the landlord or the people who the landlord owes money who then may not get paid or the bank that wrote his mortgage, etc, etc. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated story, it’s happening all around the country on a daily basis.
    This is a chance for someone who has more than they need to redistribute their own wealth to a neighbor in need. Sadly so many vote in favor of this concept but few ever seem to act individually when presented with the opportunity.

  5. Gary has worked very hard to support his three children providing a nice home environment and trying to keeping his children in a good school system. It is difficult to be falling on hard financial times as classmates are looking at colleges or taking long summer vacations from very nice homes, while he is looking for a shelter while explaining to his children that its another hurdle to overcome that will make them stronger in the end. He has never blamed anyone or made excuses, he just tries to provide for his children. Westport has always helped those in need and I know they will do so again.

  6. Susan Ellis

    I have contributed also, and hope many more Westporters will pitch in.

  7. We at the Winged Monkey would be happy to help with clothing for any daughters he might have for the summer and/or back to school.

  8. Marcy Anson Fralick Staples '70

    I truly understand Gary’s situation. My husband died almost six years ago, and I still had a son at home who needed support. I had to sell the home we’d had for 40 years; where we raised our kids, where all our memories were.

    Can Gary consider moving to a part of the country where the cost of living is more within his means? Is his business “portable”? Rather than struggling in Westport (I know, uprooting his kids and having them change schools is very hard, but done all the time), it might ease his burden to find a home he can afford, in a part of the country he can afford. What are his job skills? Through LinkedIn, he might be able to network and find employment. If he has a place of worship, they might be able to help him with networking as well. I think he really needs to consider relocation to a more affordable area. His emotions and his state of mind affect his children, and I’m sure they feel his frustration.

    I feel deeply for Gary, as I’ve walked in his shoes and I know how hard it is to lose your spouse, be a single parent, and try to financially survive. But, if he sets his sights on what’s doable, even if it means moving halfway across the country, he’ll survive. I hope he will find employment and be able to get back on track, so in the meantime, I, too, have contributed to the GoFundMe account.

  9. Anne-Marie Grey

    Dan and friend, thank you for bringing this to our attention. I hope Westport will dig deep and assist. Let’s see what we can do to help. Please let’s do what we can for this deserving dad and his children.

  10. T. Mitchell

    Dan-
    I think that either you, or Gary, should add a brief addendum to your original piece in order to clearly state exactly what his profession is, and the kind of work he can do. Many people are reading your post and someone “might” be able to refer him to a company or a person that could possibly help.

  11. Dan – I’m so glad you featured Gary’s story. It’s heartwarming to see so many good-hearted people stepping up to help him and his family. I hope he put his name in on the new town housing and he can qualify.

    P.S. Too bad I found out after the fact about the yearly Compo Beach party. I plan on being there next year.

    Thanks again for your attention to all things Westport community. I enjoy reading your blog. Thank you.

    LuAnn Giunta

    Sent from my iPhone

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  12. Lisa Johnson

    Hidden Brook has just opened up applications for housing. I would hope Westport Housing Authority could help this family during time of need. This is what affordable housing is about and wouldn’t it be wonderful if it went to an in town family to allow the children to stay in school here.