Walker Furniture Makes Christmas Bright for Marine
Written by Debbie Hall and photos by Su Phelps
Walker Furniture received a heartbreaking letter from Councilman Ricki Barlow who learned about Marine Corp veteran Charles Baker’s plight that left him and his two sons, ages 15 and 17, homeless.
His story unfolded when he called in on Veterans Day to the “Candy & Zenja in the Morning” show on Old School 105.7 KOAS-FM to win Commodores tickets. When they asked for his address, as they do with all callers, Baker revealed he was homeless.
He then shared his story and the circumstances that led up to his dilemma. He was evicted while he was hospitalized receiving treatment for Neurosarcoidosis (cancer) in his frontal lobe. There was a lapse in time between the Veterans Affairs and the Southern Nevada Housing Authority that affected the rent check arriving on time. The landlord sold all their household items to satisfy the back rent.
Radio listeners and Councilman Barlow were so touched they contacted Candy and Zenja offering to assist. Walker Furniture added one more houseful of furniture to its list of 30, making it 31 recipients and for one of America’s veterans.
A team of movers were hard at work helping to unload, deliver and setup all the necessities for Baker. Radio hosts Candy and Zenja were there too.
“I am overwhelmed by the support from the community, Las Vegas, Walker Furniture, 105.7 radio station and its listeners. Charles called us on Veterans Day to win tickets and when he shared that he was a homeless vet we were just in awe,” said Zenja.
“I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason. The irony of it was that he is a vet he served our country and he won a prize from our station on Veteran’s Day. We asked our listeners to help him. There was a Realtor that helped get through the red tape. A local church has been helping out with food and other necessities. Councilman Ricki Barlow and his office put our radio station and Charles Baker in touch with Walker Furniture. Walker Furniture really made this happen,” said Candy.
“Kindred Hospital Las Vegas, which is located on Flamingo Road, adopted Charles and his family for Christmas. Based out of Louisville, we have hospitals, hospices, home health care and provide full service medical,” case manager for Kindred HS Flamingo Campus Robyn McGough said.
“We had 30 recipients and through Councilman Ricki Barlow’s office and, of course, 105.7 FM, we were able to find out about Charles. Of the 31 people including Charles, some were veterans, some in need and or homeless. We received over 2,000 letters from those in need and through Helping Hands of Vegas Valley helped as our committee to verify all the needs of the families.
“We have an executive committee comprised of 22 people to narrow down to this year’s 31 recipients. Walker Furniture’s commitment to the community has span over 60 years. In 1994 we started with twelve families and now we are up to helping 31 families this year. Walker Furniture provides the necessary furnishings for these families such as bedroom, living and dining room as well as children’s furniture.
“This is our way of giving back to the community which has supported us over the years because without them there is no Walker Furniture. We will keep doing this for many years to come,” said Patti Gerace, marketing director for Walker Furniture.
“I’m a native. When this all started, I did not think I was supposed to accept this generous help because I was thought I was only supposed to serve,” Baker explained.
“First of all you were courageous enough to share your story with us. Thank you again for doing so and secondly the Las Vegas community… came through in droves, Walker Furniture, Star Nursery, and the HS that has been helping you as well. Thank you for allowing us to be an angel to you this time as you have been an angel to all of those you have helped through Veteran’s Affairs so thank you. Merry Christmas,” Zenja said.
“There is no known cure for this disease. I pray that I wake up every morning. UMC is where I was diagnosed with this disease. Through President Clinton, I was able to find a government grant that allows research and documentation of my treatments. Since having this disease, I have lost sight in my left eye and seizures have worsened.
“I have worked with Governor Sandoval’s office and the city of North Las Vegas to help write the program, ‘The Veterans Commission,’ a grant initiative which I wrote for veterans,” stated Baker.
Founded in 1955, Walker Furniture has served hundreds of thousands in Southern Nevada. Located in Las Vegas, the Walker Furniture campus is approximately 250,000 square feet. In 1994, Walker developed the Home For The Holidays program furnishing hundreds of homes to families in need in the Las Vegas Valley.
Visit walkerfurniture.com for more information about Walker Furniture.
Visit http://oldschool1057.com/ for more about Old School 105.7 KOAS FM.
Visit http://www.hhovv.org/ for more about Helping Hands of Vegas Valley.
Visit http://old.lasvegasnevada.gov//Government/councilman_barlow.htm for more information about Councilman Ricki Barlow.