On principal, all the cash that was asked for was $1. Now, only a few days after a devastating fire that destroyed longtime Monmouth Beach resident and former CFO/Tax collector Jim Fuller’s home, roughly $14,000 has been raised on a Go Fund Me page.
Knowing her uncle — a 53-year borough resident who is paraplegic — would be pridefully resistant to charity or anything that evoked pity, Fuller’s niece Laurie Escalante-Hernandez decided to set the funding goal at a symbolic $1, according to her narrative on the Go Fund Me page.
Why? Because she felt, knowing her uncle, that the cause is far from being one about about material possession. It’s about paying it forward — plain and simple, as she explained it.
“He has no idea I am writing this and when he finds out he is going to be very upset with me,” Escalante-Hernandez said on the Go Fund Me page. “The last thing he wants is anyone to pity him.”
And when Fuller found out about the page his niece set up, his reaction was as she had anticipated — “initially embarrassed and a bit upset.”
But, he explained in his own post, he was so overwhelmed with gratitude that “after a long cry, I realize(d) that it would be an insult to turn away any of the incredibly generous contributions or offers of help that I have received in person or seen on this site. I am humbled and honored beyond my ability to articulate it. Indeed, as I type this, I am weeping with gratitude and am just overwhelmed by all the love and support I am feeling.”
In keeping with her original intent to honor her uncle and abide by his modest wish to hang on to his pride, Escalante-Hernandes made it clear that the decision of how and what to give is priceless in itself.
“… Whether you donate money, clothes, your time and or services, a shoulder to cry on or simply an ear to listen, believe me it appreciated more than I can begin to explain,” Escalante-Hernandez said on the Go Fund Me page. “The sad fact is my uncle had no homeowners (stet) insurance and the house is a total loss. I would love for him to be able to rebuild his home but even if that’s not in the cards, I want you all to know that my family and especially my uncle will be forever grateful for everything that every one of you have done.”
She went on to explain what her uncle means to her and the community in which he has lived and served most of his life.
Fuller, she said, is 56 and has lived at 13 River Ave. in Monmouth Beach since the age of 3.
He is a 1974 graduate of Shore Regional High School; and, in his freshman year at Rutgers University, he was in a serious accident that ended up rendering him quadriplegic, Escalante-Hernandez’s post said.
After teaching himself to drive again, in 1979, Fuller began to work for the borough of Monmouth Beach, she added. He eventually became the borough’s tax collector and CFO.
He retired in 2012 after 33 years.
Fuller was rescued from the third floor during the early morning Jan. 28 fire, which was ruled accidental.
“I will be thanking everyone individually as I have the time, but I just wanted to express a public and deeply heartfelt thank you, to all who have reached out during this difficult time,” Fuller said on the Go Fund Me page. “You have turned despair into something beautiful. Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart. Bless you all.”