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Wish leads to hard times

| November 30, 2010 8:00 PM

It was his dad's last wish, and this Vietnam veteran spent the last five years fulfilling it.

But it came at a cost, and now he's out of work and his family needs a new home.

"My father asked me on his deathbed to make sure that when my mother's time came that she died at home," he said.

She was diagnosed with dementia while spending time at a nursing home following hip replacement surgery.

"They couldn't keep her in there. She kept trying to get out," the son said.

He was told the only facility that could hold his mother was in Sandpoint.

"That wasn't an option for me," he said. "I'm an only child, and I believe that it's a child's duty to make sure the last wishes are carried out."

His mom required constant care and supervision, so he took a leave of absence from his job. With his two sons, he moved into his mother's home, about 20 miles south of Coeur d'Alene.

"My kids have been great through all this. They took their granny her coffee in the morning. They'd walk behind her when she was walking with the walker.

That's even when she didn't even recognize them," he said. "They were excellent through it all."

Since his mother died earlier this year, the dad has been unable to find work, and now he can no longer afford to live in the house his mother left behind.

"It's not much. It's falling to pieces," he said.

He wants to move his family closer to town, so he can be nearer to possible jobs.

In the past, he worked in manufacturing, industrial construction and security.

Since he was out of work for the past few years, he said the gap in employment is hurting his chances, but he's applying for every job he can.

"I'll work slinging hamburgers if necessary. I'll do whatever it takes," he said. "I need to get back to work, very badly."

He said he doesn't like to ask for assistance, but he doesn't know what to do this holiday season.

"Without some help, my kids aren't going to have much of a Christmas, not much at all," he said.

With our readers' assistance, Press Christmas for All works to brighten the holidays for folks like this - people left jobless, homeless or who are barely making ends meet, individuals with disabilities or illnesses. Many are alone this holiday season.

Last year our generous readers' donations allowed us to assist thousands of families in need, and this year we've been asked to help far more. We can't do it without you.

Each day until Christmas, we will share with you the stories of those whose holiday memories will be a little happier because of Press Christmas for All.

Donations are collected, then distributed in the form of gift cards to Kootenai County residents in need.

Press Christmas for All is a holiday charity now in its 25th year. It is managed as a nonprofit by The Hagadone Corp. Because it is run by volunteers from The Hagadone Corp. and their partners at Kootenai County Fire and Rescue, every penny raised is distributed in the form of gift cards to Fred Meyer and to Super 1 Food Stores. Contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. The cards can be used to buy food and gifts but not alcohol or tobacco products.

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Recent donors include:

Clifford Agar "In loving memory of Kay Agar"; Mark & Marlo Faulkner; Charles F. Kramer; In loving memory of our grandson, Dustin J.C. Peterson; Thomas J. Schuon; Evalyn Adams; Opal Anderson; John & Gladys Aresvik; Daryl & Karen Barnes; J. B. & Dorothy Benoit; Richard Cunningham; Jeremiah & Sally Donovan; Larry Echelberger; Delmar & June Gittel; Albert & Alfreida Gouveia; F W & Alice Henderson; David & Patricia Hoskins; Barbara McCarthy; Ron, Sandy & Stacie McCoy; D. L. & S. Nussear; Dusty & Audrey Rhoads; Robney & Darlene Shriner; Faye Simpson; Richard & Carol Townsend; Paul A. & Mary Lou Wilson.

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