January 13, 2010

Guitar Hero

This is my friend Chris. He's a guitar dealer and lead guitarist for Mother Hubbard, a band out of Concord, NH. My friends call him Rocker Dude. So do I. That's him on the left. Hot guy playing some cool licks on his Les Paul guitar.

Back in November, Chris read an article in the Concord Monitor -- it was a story about Deanna Matthews and her family -- husband Richard, Kitana, Jessica, Dakotah -- and Deanna's brother Gerry. This is the beginning of the story by Ray Duckler in the Concord Monitor:

The old house in a working class Franklin neighborhood is electric today, with kids running and laughing and showing off their stuffed animals.

It's not always this way, but there's little sign of the rare chromosomal disorder suffered by the two middle children, or the learning disability of the youngest child, or the autism displayed by the oldest child, or the stroke that disabled their mother, or any of the other diagnoses that plague the Matthews family.

Jessica, 6, is proud of her pink backpack. Kitana, 9, loves playing with the family dog, Harley. Dakotah, the youngest at 5, has a smile he can't wipe away. Tyler, 15, isn't home from Franklin High yet.

The rest of the household includes Richard Matthews, the quiet father of the three younger kids and Tyler's stepdad, and uncle Gerard Auger, the one truly healthy person here, a blessing when it comes to assisting a family with more problems than a MASH unit and no way to get around.

And then there's Deanna Matthews, mother, spokeswoman, leader. She's the one reaching out so one day she can afford a car to drive her kids and herself to doctors' appointments.

You can read the rest of the Concord Monitor story here.

Deanna was determined to get her family the help they needed. One of her little girls was facing surgery and a ten day recovery up at Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital. Besides that, the whole family was in need. When you live in New Hampshire, a car is a necessity. For Deanna's family, it's even more so.

Uno Chicago Grill hosted a fundraiser for the Matthews family, donating 20% of the proceeds, but the evening netted only $100.

Chris read about Deanna and knew he had to do something. Chris is a get-it-done kind of guy, so he placed a call to Santa. And because Santa loves to help those in need, and also happens to be a big fan of classic rock, he delivered.

As is his way, Chris called to tell me about Deanna and the car that Santa got for her only after the deal was almost done. He invited me along for the ride to see Deanna receive her new wheels -- a sweet 1999 Plymouth Voyager.

It was just so fabulous to meet Deanna, her brother Gerry, husband Richard, and her cute kids. And, it's great to know she now has her own wheels thanks to Santa and one anonymous guitar hero.

You can read a follow-up to this story here.

The middle photo is by Katie Barnes of The Monitor.


Barbara said...

Good for him, and great for them. What a nice guy!

I'm Jet . . . said...

My heart went out to that family.

He's definitely a peach, Barb. A great guy . . .

Diane said...

I love to read stories of kindness--they help to keep me going. Thanks for sharing.

Shelley said...

My daughter works with an autistic boy, and they have kind of "grown up" together, so I found this story of particular interest.

Also, Jet, I wanted to thank you for your kind comments about my Dust Bowl website. And then I had to visit here because of the "incredible" title!

Shelley said...


Thanks so much for your comment on my website today! As I was rereading your story on this family, it occurred to me that your story achieves one of the goals I have for my poems: to put a human face on economic crisis. I think I'll go say that as a response to your comment!