Loan, health care assistance make tragedy easier to bear
DARIN MCCARTHY, 48, and his wife, Lisa, thought they were done raising kids. The business manager of Local 500 (Portland) has a grown, 27-year-old daughter, Jennifer, and a two-year-old granddaughter, Aliya.
But when his brother died in April and his sister-in-law in May, McCarthy took in his niece and nephew — and their 135-pound dog — to raise as his own.
“When something tragic like this happens, it is just natural to ask, ‘Why did this happen to me?’” McCarthy said. “But the real question is, ‘Why did this happen to them?’”
McCarthy now has custody of nine-year-old Melissa and seven-year-old Sean. And don’t forget Max, their Bull Mastiff!
“This dog is so big he almost needs his own room,” McCarthy said. “Despite his massive size I had to keep him; the kids had already lost so much. In fact, the dog sleeps with Melissa — they both cry if separated at night.
“The first thing I needed to do was get health insurance for these kids,” McCarthy said. He called the Boilermakers’ national funds office for assistance. Not only was he able to get insurance, he also learned he could get a loan against his annuity account to use as a down payment for a larger house.
“I’ve been a Boilermaker for almost 30 years, and I’m telling you all the people in the national funds office are great to work with,” McCarthy said. According to Curtis Barnhill, executive administrator of the Boilermakers’ national funds office, participants who have at least five years in the Annuity Plan (and meet other criteria), can take out a loan against their annuity for education, medical and funeral expenses, home purchase, home improvement, and home foreclosure or tax sale.
“Now my daughter and granddaughter live in my old house, and my wife and I — along with Melissa, Sean, and Max — have a much larger house to call home,” McCarthy said.
But losing both of their parents within a month of each other has been devastating for Melissa and Sean. They now worry about losing Darin and Lisa as well.
“It has been a big adjustment for all of us,” McCarthy said. “I’ve gotten the kids to see grief counselors. When they said they were orphans, it broke my heart, and I quickly reassured them that they were not alone — that they now had all of us [including the Boilermakers] as their family.”