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07/01/14

Dear Tom,

My name is Cheryl Newton and I’m writing to you about an amazing Dad whose name is Barry Anderson.

I met Barry and his family eight years ago. I moved into a neighborhood where Barry and his sons cut and manicured of a few of the resident’s yards. I later learned that Barry had been married for 22 years and was the father of 8 children. Barry was the “bread winner” for his family and his wife Althea did not work. He and his older sons worked from sun up to sun down. Barry cut many yards whether we had the money to pay at the time of service rendered or not. That million dollar smile never went away. Without a grumble or moan, he would simply tell me to pay him when I got it.

October 22, 2011, Barry and his sons were outside of my neighborhood working and cutting some tree limbs for a customer, when a limb in the tree he was cutting, broke. Barry fell about 20 feet while holding on to a chainsaw. He was rushed to the hospital where he was diagnosed as having damaged 4 vertebrae and swelling in his brain as a result of the fall and being cut in the head by the chainsaw. He survived the fall and the multitude of injuries, but was left with a long road to recovery and a paraplegic. I was devastated when I was told about the accident and feared if Barry would not recover. How would his family survive financially? Bad things truly happen to good people. I guess God choose Barry because He knew he had an insurmountable amount of faith and fight. It seems like without missing a beat, Althea, the kids, and other family members had a plan. Althea took the boys around to continue cutting yards and family members pitched in to help.

After months and months of being in the hospital and grueling rehab, Barry went home. I prayed, as did many others, that Barry would regain a sense of normalcy in his life. Then one spring day, one of Barry’s sons rang my doorbell and asked if I needed my grass cut and I told him I sure did. I never went outside to see what was going on. Later, I peeped out the window to see if the boys were doing a good job and to my surprise who was cutting my grass but Barry! The boys put Barry on the riding lawnmower and he actually cut my grass while the boys edged and did the weeding! I was absolutely amazed and had to stop and thank God for the miracle I was witnessing!

Barry’s wife helps him get dressed every morning and he goes out with the boys to “supervise” while they cut yards. Barry recently experienced a set back where his muscles started to shut down causing him to have difficulty keeping his eyes open, moving and breathing. The condition is called Myasthenia Travis. He was hospitalized for several weeks, put on a respirator and given plasma transfusions to help him regain mobility.

Barry’s wife and sons continue to carry on in Barry’s hopefully brief absence. They drive an old truck which they got from his brother-in-law and a lot of the equipment they use is inadequate. Mr. Joyner, I’m not sure what to begin to ask you to do to bless this family but whatever you can provide to assist them will greatly be appreciated and a blessing to their family.

Thank you in advance for giving consideration to my request.

REAL FATHERS REAL MEN: Barry Anderson was originally published on blackamericaweb.com

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