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Entertainment Benefit To Help Fire Victims

January 9, 2019

In Times of Need, Northeast Pennsylvania comes to the aid of its own. In our regular column, Patrice Wilding provides a platform for area residents facing a variety of obstacles to create awareness and connect them with much-needed help.

 

Who: Rich Howells said his family never had much money, but his parents — Judy and Richard, who work at Hallmark in Scranton and NEPA Carton & Carrier Co. in Moosic, respectively — made sure that growing up, their four kids never really knew it. The doting parents frequently sacrificed and went without so they could provide for their children. They also advocated for son Jordan, 32, who has autism and still lives with them, by organizing events, resources, funding and even educational access through their tenure running the NEPA Autism Society in the 1990s. Now, the Howells family seeks support as it deals with the aftermath of a devastating fire that occurred Christmas morning, which destroyed their home and left Judy Howells with severe burns on her hands, arms and face. The wife and mother received the injuries when her quick-thinking and heroic actions enabled her husband and Jordan to escape unharmed. She was helicoptered to Lehigh Valley Health Network’s Regional Burn Center in Allentown, where she may need to spend the next several weeks and even months recovering.

What: Members of the arts community have rallied together to stage a night of music and comedy by local and regional talent. A Benefit for the Howells Family will feature sets by Lifer, Behind the Grey, the Crowning, Send Request, Noxen, Anytime Soon, Nate Williams, Zachary Hammond and Dan Hoppel.

When/where: The event is set for Friday, Jan. 18, starting at 7 p.m. at F.M. Kirby Center for Performing Arts, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre. Donations also are being accepted online through a GoFundMe page and at any branch of Penn East Federal Credit Union care of the Howells Family Fire Fund. Checks payable to the fund may be mailed to Penn East FCU at 441 N. Seventh Ave., Scranton, PA 18503.

Why: Because of years of financial difficulties, the Howells family could not make needed home repairs and remain insured, and so everything lost in the fire must be replaced out-of-pocket. Proceeds will be used to secure new living arrangements and basic necessities plus pay for living expenses and medical bills related to Judy Howells’ injuries.

In his own words: “The outpouring of support we’ve received from the community already has been overwhelming. People we haven’t seen in years, and even complete strangers, have donated money, clothes, food and more. The generosity and well wishes we’ve received so far have helped us keep our spirits up in this difficult time. We can’t thank everyone enough.” — Richard Howells

Update: Mason Rose Sharkazy of Scranton, whose medical difficulties since being born weeks early in September were highlighted in this column last week, has finally hit the five-pound mark with her weight. Her family created a Facebook page, The Many Adventures of Mason Rose, Superhero, to follow her progress.

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