“Her injuries were extensive, and she died from those injuries.”
She was such a great employee. She came to work, did her job well, always smiling, happy and pleasant. Everyone has bad days, but you never saw her bad days. She worked at a factory during the day, and she was a housekeeper on our evening shift. She was such a hard worker. She was really the ideal employee.
As her HR Director, I got to know her well. She was working those two jobs to support her family. She was the sole provider. Her family meant everything to her. Her kids were everything. They were her world. Her father is 80 years old, and he has dementia. He lives in their home, and she was devoted to him. She was such a dedicated mom and daughter.
We found out about the tragedy in the newspaper. It happened over the weekend, and we read about it first thing Monday morning. It was all over the news. There was so much press coverage. It was heartbreaking. We were devastated. All we could think about were her kids and her father…and how incredibly disturbing it all was. What would they do without her? How would they pay the bills? How would they eat? What can we do to help? This just doesn’t happen. To say we know how they feel isn’t true. We’ve never been in a situation like this.
She was in the hospital for just a few days. Our first thoughts were the children. How could we help the children? How could we relieve the stress of worrying about where they’re going to live and get their next meal. We wanted to somehow relieve their stress so they could focus on being with their mom. We didn’t realize their time with their mom would be so short.
Her husband beat her; he just kept beating her. Her injuries were extensive. She died from those injuries. He’s in custody, and he pleaded innocent by reason of insanity. She’s gone. His kids are without a mother and a father…by reason of insanity.
A fellow employee went to the house and collected all of the bills we could help pay - groceries, utilities, etc. The kids didn’t know how to accept our help. They were resistant at first to accept the Hug Fund grant because they just couldn’t believe someone would help them like this. The Hug Fund paid several mortgage payments and covered household bills while the kids wait for the legal proceedings to end and the estate to be settled.
Those kids had to grow up fast, and they are doing a good job of dealing with what has happened. They’re pulling together and living. The daughter is in high school, and the son is in his early 20s and plays in a band. They are taking care of each other and their grandfather. Seeing how they’re making it is amazing.
This has really touched our employees, and we’ve been able to see, firsthand, the Hug Fund in action. The generous donations you make really are used directly for co-workers and their families in times of tragedy. Our facility truly understands that now.
I’ve been in HR for 11 years. Many companies donate to charities, but very few have programs like the Hug Fund. The fund really says a lot about how we care about one another in times of need. It’s really something to see that kind of respect.
“I was at work when the flames engulfed our entire apartment.”
The United States has been my home for seven years now. My husband and I came here from Nigeria with our six children. It was difficult to leave family and friends behind in Africa, but we were together, and that is all that mattered.
The date of the fire was October 9. I was at work when the flames engulfed our entire apartment complex. The whole building was lost. No one knows what started the fire. I have no idea what started it.
We lost everything. Clothing, furniture, all of our household belongings. We even lost all of our photos- precious family memories.
The landlord gave us a new apartment, but it was in a bad neighborhood. I worried about my children and their safety. So we moved in with my brother, but we couldn’t stay long because he didn’t have room for us.
The children were so afraid after the fire. We tried to get counseling for them. My parents were worried and wanted them to come home to Africa to comfort them and take care of them, so my husband and I decided to send the three youngest ones back. I couldn’t handle rebuilding our home and caring for them on my own.
I was forced to take time off work to find a new, safe apartment, and to see my children before they left the country. It’s true, the fire cost me my home and broke up my family. We are not together anymore.
My HR Director told me about the Hug Fund. I was so relieved when I found out I was going to get help. The Hug Fund grant paid for rent and utilities for our new apartment so that we could start over. Now I can make plans for the day that my children return to me, and my family is together in America once again.
Please donate to the Hug Fund. We don’t know tomorrow…nobody knows tomorrow. I couldn’t have gotten by without the Hug Fund.
“I watched him fall 25 feet.”
My husband had been a painter for almost 35 years. He got laid off from his company about 12 years ago. Since then, he has been out on his own. A year ago when the economy crashed, he lost a lot of business. We were living paycheck to paycheck.
Last November, he was contracted by a company to paint big service doors on train garages at the end of the tracks, where the trains pull in and pull out. For 30 years, I had never gone with him on a job, but it was one of those really warm days. He was preparing to leave for the job site when he said, “Why don’t you pack a lunch and you can go out there with me?” I said, “Ok, I’ll go.”
We were there a couple of hours. He put a five-foot scaffolding on top of white gravel at the side of the railroad tracks, and on top of that he put his 24-foot extension ladder. He climbed up to begin painting. I was relaxing, enjoying the day and the time with my husband. Then, I heard a creaking noise and looked up. I watched him fall 25 feet. When he was half way down, the ladder went faster, but it seemed as if it was in slow motion. The scaffolding was kicked out from underneath him, and the left side of his body took the full impact of the fall. I watched his head hit the railroad track, and then he flopped backward.
I ran into the building in total panic and called 911. The ambulance took him to a trauma hospital. He had a broken shoulder, a broken hand, broken pelvis and a shattered kneecap. Thank God no head injury, although his face and ear were bruised. He was lucky to be alive. The hospital staff sent a chaplain in to sit with me, and I thought, “Oh my gosh, I do bereavement counseling for a living, so I know that things are bad.”
When you’re in that situation, you want to focus on your loved one, but in the back of your mind you’re thinking, "how am I going to make this next payment? Where is the money going to come from?" We had no savings.
Two of my closest friends at work asked me if I had thought about the Hug Fund. I was so embarrassed to ask for help. But at the same time, I didn’t have a choice. When I found out the Hug Fund was going to take care of the house payment, it was like a weight was lifted off of me. I couldn’t believe it. Now I can focus on getting things done and spending time with my husband. I try to stay upbeat, but it’s going to be a long road, and he’ll never be able to paint again like he used to.
The Hug Fund was a blessing, and I would encourage anybody who might need some help to contact the Hug Fund. It might be you the next time. You don’t know the future. I give to the Hug Fund because I want to help others and reach out. That’s what our company is about. It makes me feel good knowing it’s for my co-workers. They might be going through things I don’t even know about, and they need the help.
I definitely recommend donating to the Hug Fund. It’s worth it! The amount that I give is nothing compared to what it has given back to me, and I would give to it again. Sometimes you wonder if the stories are real. Yes, they are real, and I would be the first to testify. It’s an outstanding program, and the relief you get is amazing. It’s indescribable.
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