When life hit hard, he found hope: Robert’s Story

in Participants

Robert, a retired UPS driver and small business owner, moved 20 years ago from Kentucky to Colorado to be near his son. Things were going well for Robert, until his wireless internet business was hit hard during the 2008 recession. In the blink of an eye, he lost his business, his home, his ability to make ends meet.

That’s when a friend told him about EFAA. EFAA was able to help immediately with financial assistance for his car payment, fresh groceries from EFAA’s food bank, a warm referral to Boulder Housing Partners for housing, and even a bed to sleep on.

As the economy began to slowly rebound and Robert was able to earn money again, Robert found himself in a place that so many of our neighbors experience: “I made a bit too much to qualify for food stamps, but not enough to get by day-to-day, let alone in a place as expensive as Boulder,” said Robert. “EFAA was the only place I could turn to for help while being ‘in-between’.”

In the intervening years, Robert was able to get back on his feet and didn’t need EFAA services for a long time. But then, as is often the case, life happened.

In November 2021, Robert woke up with a major toothache and an eye swollen shut. He went to Boulder Restorative Dentistry right away, and the infection was so severe that the oral surgeon wouldn’t let Robert leave without pulling several teeth. Because of its proximity to the bloodstream and brain, a tooth infection of this nature could have killed him.

After the procedure, implants, and a healing dental appliance, Robert was shocked to find he was left with an astronomical 5-figure bill. His dental work was not covered by insurance, social security, or any government support. His son and daughter pitched in what they could to help, but he still came up short.

When tough times struck again, Robert was able to turn to EFAA. EFAA was able to help close the gap on his dental bill. “I’ve still got plenty of challenges, but the important thing is that now I have one less headache.”

Today, Robert is embarking on a new chapter he long feared – transitioning his wife into a nursing home. While living in Kentucky she suffered a major car accident that left her with a traumatic brain injury and a stroke. A third of Robert’s income goes to provide the extensive care she needs.

Robert’s story reminds us that everyone has a plan, and then life happens. Whether it’s through one-time support – or intermittent support throughout the years – EFAA helps our neighbors navigate life’s inevitable highs and lows.

“The reality is I’m probably going to have to reach out to EFAA every now and then to ask for help. It’s a tough deal. You don’t expect these kinds of things when you’re 40, 50, or even 60. But when you’re 70, you just can’t produce like you can when you were younger. At first, I felt intimidated coming to EFAA, and maybe even a little pride. But I realized that’s the way life is sometimes, and asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of.”