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West Chazy family reaches out to community for help

PLATTSBURGH The past six years have been unfortunate for Richard Gray and his family, but the West Chazy family hopes that is about to change. Richards wife, Debbie, lost her brother in the terrorist attacks against the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. That is when the Grays, including their children Richard II, 12; Dale, 10; and Rebecca, 8, packed up and went to Kansas City where Debbies family is from. Right after his memorial we moved out there and helped her family get back together and heal, said Richard. Richard ended up working as a detention officer in Clay County in a town just outside Kansas City. That was a good paying job, said Richard. Then, I got sick and they were forced to have me resign or have me terminated. So, I resigned. Afterward, he had a difficult time finding another job that paid as well. In 2005, the family decided to move back to the area, but found out their belongings which had been put in storage were stolen by a friend. Not a very good one, Debbie said. Richard and his family found out later the man they thought was a friend turned out to be a drifter and was never found neither were their belongings. The family came back to the area and rented a home in West Chazy. On May 18, an electrical fire swept the house and the family lost almost everything. Richard was at work when he learned of the fire. I ended up in the hospital that night, he said. When I got there, between adrenaline and stress and anxiety, my blood pressure went through the roof and I almost passed out. If it wasnt for bad luck, wed have none at all, he added. With the family losing their belongings twice, Richard, a retired Gulf War veteran, looked to local businesses and the community for help. When I havent been in school or working, Ive been trying to solicit donations, he said. I dont get to sleep at night til two or three oclock in the morning. Richard has been attending Clinton Community College, which is being paid for by the Veterans Association, while he also works at Bucks Plaza in Beekmantown. Last Sunday, Richard put together a benefit for his family at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post on Boynton Avenue, with local businesses donating various items and gift certificates that were raffled off. Whatever people dont want, whatever isnt raffled off is going to Habitat for Humanity in Keeseville, he explained during the benefit. For his family, though, Richard said, Right now what were desperately in need for is a living room set-up and beds. Financial donations are always the best; we can get what we need. Though we appreciate everything that is donated. Currently, the Grays are staying with Richards mother in West Plattsburgh, but have plans to move to Peru in late July when the house they will rent is ready. Any donations are welcomed, said Richard. Whatever we dont use or we dont donate to other organizations, will go in a huge garage sale, which will still benefit my family. The Grays are also looking for a moving truck to assist them in their move, he said. If interested in helping out the Gray family, Richard can be reached at 420-3478.

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