Law firm surprises local family with check, Santa visitWritten by Danielle Stanton | | email@example.com
Eight-year-old Ruby Harley was born with spina bifida. Two years later, just as the family was becoming accustomed to Ruby’s doctor appointments, procedures, surgeries and everyday care, she was diagnosed with autism.
She uses a wheelchair and cannot walk. Her mother, Julie, carries her from room to room. She weighs 96 pounds.
Julie has had to quit her job as a teacher at Our Lady of Perpetual Help to care for Ruby full-time. Julie and her husband, Ben, also have a 10-year-old daughter, Zoe.
The Harleys are struggling with a special needs child, and they have one income – Ben’s screenprinting company.
“It’s hard to make ends meet,” Julie said. “And Christmas time is a tough time, especially with one income and a special needs kid. … I wouldn’t change a thing though. [Ruby's] been a blessing, despite the challenges.”
This year, Williams DeClark Tuschman, a Toledo personal injury law firm, gave the family a check as part of their Christmas contest in which families are nominated to win $1,500.
Mary Martin of Massachusetts, a family friend, nominated the Harleys for the law firm’s third annual giveaway.
“This family does not have extra money for anything,” Martin wrote in her nomination letter. “Their home is not even fully accessible for Ruby. It would be wonderful if they could win your contest and be able to buy some things that they need, and special things for the kids, for Christmas.”
The three law firm partners, Marty Williams, Peter DeClark and Chad Tuschman, presented the check to Julie at her home in South Toledo along with a special visitor — Santa Claus.
“We feel blessed ourselves and just wanted to share that with someone in need,” Williams said. “[Martin's] letter touched us all.”
“We just try to end the year by doing good. It’s that simple,” DeClark said. “Every year we try to do something for the community.”
The law firm gave gifts to the Boys & Girls Club of Toledo and meals to the Cherry Street Mission Ministries, but three years ago decided they wanted to do something more personal, DeClark said. Last year, two families received checks, Tuschman said.
“It was awesome,” Julie said after the Dec. 23 presentation and Santa’s visit. “They were all so nice. I was surprised by Santa. Ruby recognized him and could say ‘Ho, ho, ho.’”