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Division 34 seeks support for families in need this holiday season

CLEVELAND, December 9 -- For the ninth year in a row, the members of BLET Division 34 (Columbus, Ohio) are generously sharing their good fortune and helping those in need through their annual Adopt-A-Family program.

"It seems like time has gone by so fast, but by the end of the year, we will have 80 children as part of our family in only 9 years," wrote Jeffrey L. Murray, Legislative Representative of Division 34. "We couldnít have imagined nine years ago that we would have come this far. This year is no different as God has seen fit to bring three deserving families to us for help."

The three families that Division 34 will adopt this year have a combined total of 9 total children.

The Kimes family

Steve and Ryan Kimes have four children. Brother Murray reports that the last few years have been tremendously difficult for them as Steve has had significant knee problems, including three surgeries (two reconstructions). He works in construction/maintenance, and during all three knee surgeries, he was on probation with a new employer and each time they were unable to hold his position for him. His wife Ryan works as an administrator at a doctorís office, which isnít quite enough to support a family of six. Brother Murray reports that Steveís rehabilitation is going well, but he is at least six months away from being able to return to work. Their children are: Tristan, 16; Deakin, 13, Ally, 11; and Nia, 9.

The Jouadi family

The past six months have been a rough go for Youssef and Sara Jouadi and their two children. In 2009, Youssef was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. He has a culinary background and has worked as a chef at the same company for the last 15 years. However, they were purchased by a larger company that was unwilling to retain him. His health condition now requires that he walk with a cane, which presents obstacles in finding employment in his field. Earlier this year, a fire broke out in their homeís garage. Sara was at home with the children and they were able to escape unharmed, but the fire spread and their home was a near total loss. All of their belongings inside the home were destroyed. Brother Murray reports that the Jouadi family is one that focuses on needs and not wants. "In true Division 34 fashion we feel the need to take care of these kids at Christmas and let them know everything is going to be OK," Murray said. The Jouadi children are: Zitounia, 8; and Kenny, 5.

The Matheney family

Division 34ís third adopted family is one with young children dealing with an incredibly difficult situation. The Matheney children were just recently removed from their home and are in the care of their grandmother and great grandmother. The grandmother barely makes minimum wage and their 73-year-old great grandmother is on a fixed income, but she cleans houses part time to help make ends meet. The transition of custody, along with the delay in receiving benefits for the children has put a financial strain on the grandmother and great grandmother. Brother Murray indicates they would not be able to provide Christmas gifts for the grandchildren without outside assistance. The Matheney children are: Johnny, 10; Brandi, 8; and Chevy, six months old.

A helping hand

After helping so many children over the past seven years, Brother Murray and the members of Division 34 are soliciting donations to help the three families and nine children in 2013.

"None of this would be possible without the support we have received from outside individuals and organizations," Murray said. "Any assistance you or your organization can provide would be a tremendous help in continuing this great program. I want to make clear that every penny received is given to these families."

BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce thanked Brother Murray and the members of Division 34 for their continued generosity and benevolence. President Pierce noted that the National Division is presenting a check for $500 to the Adopt-A-Family program, as it has been done for the past several years.

"This is a worthwhile cause and I am proud to again support Division 34," President Pierce said. "It is especially heartwarming to see the generosity of railroaders during this time of year. We have been blessed and I believe it is incumbent upon us to lend a helping hand to those in need."

If you wish to help, you may contact Brother Jeff Murray by email, Murrays3@hotmail.com, or you can make a donation to:

BLET Division 34
115 Grove Run Rd.
Commercial Point, Ohio 43116

Please make checks payable to Division 34 and put "Adopt-A-Family" in the memo line.

Monday, December 09, 2013

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