This morning, I got a phone call. Monday morning. It was the type of phone call that just lingers with you in the anxiety of the unknown.
If you follow our progress at the school, have ever visited the school, or- heck- even been to Alton, there's a good chance you know this guy. We met Andy four years ago, just after we moved to the school, and it wasn't long until he became part of our Milton Family.
Andy has been through an unimaginable amount of adversity in his life- was left disabled by an abusive father as a child, spent time drifting from group homes to work programs to homelessness, and has more stories to tell than a hundred lifetimes combined. But he's never failed to find joy in life either- he fell in love a few years back, married a wonderful woman, and now lives in a house a few blocks away from the school. Our mutual friend Terry introduced Andy to us one day, and Andy very shyly approached my husband Joel saying, "If you ever need any help, sweepin up or anything, I'd like to come up and help."
Joel told him he could come and help anytime. Andy showed up the very next day at 8am.
About a week after he took to knocking on our window to get us out of bed, we gave him his own key and he's been here ever since. Joel calls him our angel- and it's true. Without Andy, so many overwhelming projects would have never even gotten started. But because Andy is so content to just work away, a little at a time, happily organizing and sorting and cleaning through the mess that was Milton, he's made a way for Milton to become something beautiful. Andy has always been there- helping me try to complete crazy surprise projects while Joel was out of town, merrily riding his tractor around the lawn, always asking what else he can do to help out.
This morning I received a phone call from Andy's wife, Sherry. Sherry told me that over the weekend Andy had broken a vertebrae in his neck. My stomach is in knots right now. As I write, Andy is at Barnes Jewish in St. Louis undergoing surgery. Sherry told me that there didn't appear to be any initial paralysis- but that they still didn't have much information. She promised to keep us updated.
Even at the best case scenario, recovering from a broken neck is going to be a long road. Sherry and Andy live simply, but happily, in a home here in Alton. The financial strain of what will likely be weeks/months of rehab, much travel back and forth to St. Louis, and the gas/food that goes along with not being at home will be quite a bit. So, I'm listing several art glass pieces from the school tonight on eBay that will go 100% towards helping Andy get back on his feet. You will be able to view photographs click on links to those pieces on our facebook page tomorrow morning- but you can find them here as they are listed tonight.
Also, if you feel so inclined to help out, you can donate through paypal below. The funds donated through this button are marked when they go into our account, and we'll be able to sort them out to give to Sherry so she can continue to be at Andy's side as much as possible.