Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Neighbor Helps Financially, Emotionally Distraught Anchorage Grandmother Caring for Grandson
Cindy Johnson lost her husband in a tragic accident six years ago—now she’s in danger of losing her home.
An Anchorage grandmother who says she’s never asked for help before is getting some thanks to a caring neighbor. Cindy Johnson lost her husband in a tragic accident six years ago—now she’s in danger of losing her home.
Johnson’s husband Matt was killed on a Boy Scout camping trip on the Kenai Peninsula when a tree fell on the tent where he and their grandson were sleeping. Johnson was crushed, and died instantly. The young grandson survived but was trapped for hours beneath his grandfather’s body.
Cindy Johnson says her grandson, who lives with her, has had a hard time coping. She doesn’t want to have to move out of the only home that he has ever known. It’s also the home that houses her struggling business, The Great Alaska Quilt Company—a business that can’t pay her bills and has left her worried.
“I just want to pay my mortgage and my utilities and buy food and it's getting to the point where I can't do all of it,” said Johnson.
Enter Johnson’s neighbor, Sarah Short. After she learned about Johnson’s plight, she dove in to help. Her plan was to renovate a small apartment in Johnson’s home so that she could rent it out to a tenant and have a more stable source of income.
“Initially I thought it was going to be a simple job that I could do myself and then I realized we can’t just do a simple fix—we have to do it right,” said Short.
Since then, Short has been rallying the community calling on businesses and individuals for donations and labor to help with the job. She has a list of items she needs and people who have pledged their help. She’s convinced that she can pull it off.
“If she doesn’t have this help and become self sustainable she ends up on welfare and society is going to take care of her anyway;” says Short. She’s convinced that neighbors helping neighbors is the way to go.
“If we start taking care of our neighbors in our neighborhoods, if we start taking care of the people around us then they can start taking care of the people around them. That movie Pay It Forward is right on— take care of those around you and it will come back to you,” she said.