By T. Katz for KHTS AM-1220
As a company that specializes in property damage restoration, Har-Bro promises in their mission statement to provide victims of disaster with immediate restoration service with the utmost Integrity, Dedication to Quality, and Outstanding Customer Service. Project Coordinator Paul Waddell and the employees of Har-Bro Valencia feel that same intense passion in the quest to help provide breast cancer survivors and their families, hoping to build and repair where disaster strikes.
At this very moment his wish is to help one of Circle of Hope’s earliest client’s Oanth “Kim” Thi Le, a woman whose cancer is threatening to take away everything she knows – home, health coverage and ultimately her life. The employees of Har-Bro, Paul Waddell, Kathy Lawler, Connie Molina, Lindsey Lassak, Jeff Swenson, Armando Lopez, Gabriel Bonilla, Seane Eifert and Payman Bahman are working together to assist Kim and her family and want to appeal to other businesses in the Santa Clarita Valley to help build and repair where the disaster of disease has struck, as they see this as an opportunity for the community to come together to provide holiday good will to a family in desperate need. According to Paul, “The holidays are coming and I want to see these people have a nice Christmas and a nice meal in their home. I want to see them keep their home and I think it can be done.”
Kim Le, a Vietnamese immigrant came to America in 1989 following her father who had arrived 15 years earlier to work for the American government. In Vietnam, she graduated high school but was told she could not attend college, because of the path her father had chosen. Her one dream was to become an American citizen. Grateful for American freedom, she says she was happy to be here and work to take care of her family. A strong woman, Kim did whatever jobs came her way after she arrived, working 7-days-a-week and often doing the work of men twice her size.
In 2001, the same year Kim, her husband and two small children bought a home and became part of the community of Santa Clarita, the diagnosis of breast cancer was delivered. This was the first disaster to strike the Le household here in America.
Despite being declared cancer-free in 2004, disaster would strike again and again. In 2006 Kim became a client of Circle of Hope receiving financial aid for medical expenses, but even with that additional help with medical fees – finances were quickly depleted.
Eventually, Kim’s cancer metastasized to her bones and liver and by 2007 a tumor on her hip forced her to have hip replacement surgery, totally disabling her. It was believed she would never walk again, but strong woman that she is, Kim fought long and hard to regain that ability.
Cancer has nearly taken Kim’s life many times, but she feels that the love of her family and the care of her dedicated doctors and nurses keep her alive. Her spirit is still strong, but when you speak to her, you can hear the pain and fatigue in her voice.
Kim will tell you that she is happy and grateful for her American freedom and having had the opportunity to raise her family in such a warm and loving community as Santa Clarita. She has great hopes and dreams for her 12 year old daughter, Kimberly, and 10 year old son, Harrison, but the devastation of cancer does not stop. In the last couple of years, the Le family has had to close their family furniture business and despite working hard, they are now on the brink of losing their home … during the holidays.
Over the years, Paul Waddell and his wife (also a breast cancer survivor) have raised countless dollars for various charities, but the Le family touched their hearts with their story. A true people person, Paul is a charismatic man who lights up when he talks about his own family, the company he works for and the people he works with, but his eyes mist over when he talks about cancer and the effect it has on patients, caregivers and the family. He also becomes very passionate when speaking about helping families who are hurting, because of disease saying, “Over the years my wife and I have been very happy to raise money for research and attend the benefits that celebrate fundraising. But, I want to raise funds for people, not a party. I want to take a look at right now, families that need help immediately because of disease. There’s nothing to celebrate until the check is presented to this family who is hurting. Let’s do what we can do. America is a Get it Done country and I want to be a part of that, get it done and do what we can to help these people now.”
Paul and the employees of Har-Bro have already raised $1,000 of their own money to assist Kim Le and her family and want to extend a challenge to bring in more funds from businesses and community members all across the Santa Clarita Valley. Having raised money for Circle of Hope before, Paul asks that donations be sent to Circle of Hope because he says he knows that, “every dollar you send to Colleen Shaffer goes to help somebody, and I appreciate that.”
Wanting to raise awareness of the Le family and the disaster that has struck their household, Paul says his greatest wish is to give the Le family back their home, for the holidays so that they can have a meal, a Christmas and memories of time with Kim. A man true to his word, Paul Waddell wants to build and repair, providing the Le family with help, integrity, quality of life and the utmost in human satisfaction.
For more information on how you or your business can assist the Le family this holiday season, contact Circle of Hope at PO Box 221461, Newhall, CA 91322 or call (661) 254-5218 or contact Paul Waddell of Har-Bro at (661)705-0100. Learn more about Circle of Hope at www.CircleofHopeInc.org
Pictured at top of article: and Kim Le Paul Waddell