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Friday, November 23, 2007

Giving Thanks, Indeed

I just wrote checks totaling $3000 for a creator who Hero just benefited. He wishes to remain anonymous, but our Disbursement Committee knows who he is. He lives in an area of the country, where the cost of living is moderately cheap, but still…he and his wife just rolled pennies to buy milk, and they luckily had a coupon for a free box of Cheerios. After the milk, they had $3 to their names.

The creator in question had cancer about a decade ago, and his wife was diagnosed with cancer a few years later. When she found she was going to lose her hair in treatment, she had it cut off and donated to the Locks of Love program. That's just the kind of folks they are. Her cancer is still an issue to this day. It took
six years for her to get government help, as with no under-18 children living in their home, they had to get below 200% under
the federal poverty guidelines before they could qualify.

Probably needless to say, due to health and mobility issues, finding work is difficult for these folks. The funny part is they're STILL plugging away, still writing and even self-publishing comics. Their spirit is indomitable. Some of the checks I wrote were to a landlord for rent and a propane company for heat. I spoke to said recipient today to tell him the checks went out and he remarked that "
The prospect of a warm winter with no bills facing disconnect is more than we hoped for."

And it hit me:
He had already resigned himself to the fate that the heat was probably going to get turned off for part of this winter.
It was just going to happen. Until us. And until you, reading this.

So there. Just a quick reminder that the work we do, yes, is indeed important. Thanks to all who have donated their money, time, effort, and energies.

And happy Thanksgiving weekend, huh?

Jim McLauchlin


cklamer said...

Thanks Jim I think we all needed that just to let us all know just how lucky we are with our families and our convention friends that support us so much.

So let just say thanks to everyone that helps and supports the Hero Initiative.


Anonymous said...

That's awesome and great to hear. a positive step in their life and a goOd reminder for all why this group exists. keep up the great work.


Anonymous said...

At recent cons I've been asking people who have 5 or more comics for me to sign to drop a dollar per 5 comics into my Hero Initiative jar. Most people are generous to a fault, but some people seem annoyed by it. I hate seeing one of my readers annoyed by something I've done, but stories like this make it worthwhile. I hope some of those annoyed people take the time to read this.

Thanks Jim, and everyone who donates!

Michael Lark

Unknown said...

Sad and wonderful at the same time. Great work, Jim, and I especially like you comment afterwards. Important work.

Dustin Harbin said...

Great story! It's good to hear about some of the real-world help occurring at ground level. I think stuff like this brings what the Hero Initiative does into focus. Keep up the good work!

Cully Hamner said...

I had a good holiday, but hearing something like this just makes it that much better. Jim and the Initiative deserve a lot of thanks from all of us who love this medium, and want to support those who give their lives to it.

Let's all try twice as hard in '08. Deal?

Steve Epting said...

Thanks for posting this Jim. I was recently explaining what the Hero Initiative was to a family member and this is a great example of what it's all about.

Scott Dunbier said...

A perfect story for Thanksgiving, Jim, thanks for sharing it--and for the work you guys do.

Tom Beland said...

I remember when a kid and my father was diagnosed with stomach cancer. We lived in modest little house on Pine Street, which we rented.

As dad got more and more sick... the bills mounted up and we began to notice fewer groceries in the fridge and there was more talk centered around how we were going to keep the lights or gas on.

Dad finally had to leave his job as a custodian and mom got a job at a pharmacy. She worked hard all day and took care of dad when she came home. We couldn't afford to check him into a hospital and he wanted to be at home with his family.

Right before my father died, my mother was in the shower, trying to figure out how we were going to make ends meet, when she discoverd a lump in her breast. She didn't tell anyone and we had no idea the road she was travelling down.

After dad was gone, we rented an apartment in a bad side of town and we had to go on food stamps. There were times when I'd come home and the lights weren't working and we ate sandwiches by candlelight.

Mom died three years later and during her last year, we had to battle with the government over our social security checks. My final year in high school was spent burying my mother and getting grilled-over by the Social Security officials over this or that.

As someone who's had to use four blankets to keep warm during a winter during that time, I'm glad that today, the sale of artwork I produced could be sold to help someone else keep their stove and heater running.

I couldn't help my mother during that time... when I read what my artwork contributed to, I swear I felt my mother's arms around me.

I had an emotional meltdown this afternoon after hearing this news. But it was one of those meltdowns where all the feelings and emotions were wonderful.

Thanks so much for allowing me to be a part of this. Anything else I can offer is yours to ask.

Thanks for letting me blabber.

Gail Simone said...

Frankly, Hero Initiative and Jim are two of the things I'm very thankful for this holiday season, for the many folks out there who need them.

Jim, you rock.


Matt Wieringo said...

Thanks for including me on this, Jim. As someone on the outside, looking in, I'm endlessly impressed by the folks working in this industry. You have no union and you're more or less on your own. Yet you all find ways of looking out for each other. Thanks for the inspiration. And thank goodness for the Hero Initiative.

mike choi said...

Sometimes, and I admit I do this all the time, it's easy to see organizations like The Hero Initiative as solely an institution, most times I go and say hi to the guys there, and maybe do a shift "because it's something nice to do," or "to do Jim a favor because he's a buddy."

I feel like such an ass. Thanks for reminding chumps like me the actual results from the hard work by you guys, and how much it touches the lives of the people you help... that it's not just "a nice thing to do," but something that we're obligated to do because it's the RIGHT thing to do.

Happy holidays to all!

Mike Choi

pinguino said...

I'm really glad that HERO is around to help people like these. It's wonderful to see our community making a difference, and being able to bring warmth and peace of mind to a family. Thanks for posting the story

Scott Koblish said...

Wow- just another reason to donate and help out all of our forebearers and colleagues - Thanks to Jim and the Initiative this year! I remember what it's like to have to scrimp and save and I'm sure I'll be back there someday. It's nice to know that there are ways to help those in distress-

Anonymous said...

You and the Initiative are doing a great work, Jim.

Rich Johnston said...

Nice one guys. A heart warming story. Good to see the money going where it's needed.

But I'm also angry. Firstly, angry at the situation where people who'd worked in the industry are in this position. And then angry that anyone, in a first world country no less, should be in that position. And I wonder about the many who didn't work in comics and don't have a HERO.

Anonymous said...

It's great to hear how much HERO is helping people. It's also a wakeup call that there's still alot more work to be done and we should all be taking a moment to make a donation or help raise money. It will literally make a world of difference for some people.

Tabitha Johnson said...

I am so proud to be a member of this family and a part of what we do. Thank you, to all of our artists and my fellow volunteers, for coming by and donating your time and talents. It is an honor to work with you and a joy to hear stories like this.


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