Edwin first met Gerry nearly 20 years ago through his cousin Carlos, who often brought Gerry along to summer softball games, where he enthusiastically cheered on the team.
“When Carlos told me that Gerry was looking for a new home, I applied for the position and got it. And here we are today. It will be ten years on August 1 and I’m looking forward to ten more,” Edwin says.
Edwin and Gerry shared a home in Amherst before moving to Easthampton three years ago. Gerry attends a day program where he works with others in the community cleaning, raking, and other maintenance work. He adds, “I’m a manager. I’m the best worker ever. I’m a hard worker and get things all nice for the next person.”
Edwin is quick to point out that Gerry is just as thoughtful at home. “He takes really good care of me. He tells me to put things away and helps with household chores.” After a recent snow storm the two worked together to clear the neighbor’s front steps. Gerry explains, “The stairs were covered with snow, it was hard to walk and I didn’t want anyone to get fell, so I did the sidewalk and stairs. I cleaned that up for two hours, maybe four!”
Holding up a necklace threaded with medallions and rings, Gerry smiles, “Edwin bought this for me.” Edwin adds, “It started with one of my original dog tags from the military and then I’ve bought him rings throughout the years. Gerry is a very grateful person. He treasures things. I really like giving Gerry gifts because he appreciates them so much.” This prompts Gerry to point to his new sneakers. “Edwin bought these for me. My Christmas present. I do a lot of walking. I go to the store.”
When asked to name one of his favorite things about living with Edwin, Gerry pauses and exclaims, “Varoom! I like the Camaro.” Edwin loves cars and Gerry loves his spot in the passenger seat of Edwin’s 2015 Camaro. They attend car shows and speak fondly of when, a couple of years ago, they spent two days at Lake George strolling through an 800-plus car show.
All the talk of cars has Gerry poking at Edwin’s arm. “Tell the story,” he whispers. Edwin smiles and explains. “A few years ago, my cousin Carlos picked Gerry up at the apartment in Amherst and they came across a car accident on Route 9. The car was on its side and there were little girls in the back. The mom was crying; she couldn’t get them out. Carlos and Gerry pulled over to help. Carlos couldn’t get in the back seat, but Gerry could. He climbed in, unbuckled the girls and handed them to Carlos.”
No words necessary.
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Every day at Pathlight we are inspired by stories and families like Gerry and Edwin. Through our programs and services, from residential and day programs to recreation and performing arts, we help nurture and support these important relationships.
But we can’t do it without you! You’ve been an important supporter in the past and I hope you will make a gift today that will change the lives of people like Gerry and Edwin and all the other families in the Pathlight community!