Local family celebrates housewarming party after tragic setbacks

Heartwarming housewarming after local family's tragic setbacks
All photos courtesy of St. Vincent de Paul of Contra Costa County.

By Kathy Chouteau

The Parker family of El Sobrante, who in recent years have faced a series of inconceivable personal setbacks, celebrated some joyful news last weekend at a housewarming party at their newly purchased home, according to a Facebook post by St. Vincent de Paul of Contra Costa County.

The housewarming party, which was hosted by Feagley Realtors Sat., Aug. 13, marked a celebratory high note for the family following a quest to purchase a home to suit their changing and ever-pressing needs. Last weekend’s party also marked the culmination of an outpouring of community support for the Parkers that included Feagley Realtors launching a GoFundMe page in 2021 to help the family with a down payment. After raising more than $33,715, per the realtors, the family closed on their newly purchased house—the same one they previously rented—June 2.

The Parkers house search was initiated following family challenges that included the shooting of then 16-year-old daughter Ashley in 2019, who was caught in the crossfire of a gang-related incident after a De Anza High School football game in Richmond. Ashley was left with a bullet lodged in her spine, causing paralysis from the chest down and also the partial removal of her right lung. At the time, the Parkers modified their rental home—which is now their permanent home—to help their daughter with her mobility in a wheelchair.

Ashley’s road to recovery from serious injuries was compounded when her mother, Theresa, who was also her primary caretaker, suffered a brain condition called an AVM. Following a brain operation, Theresa experienced post-operative seizures, visual complications and other personal health issues.

Fortunately, the Parkers weren’t left to face their challenges alone. Aside from the Go Fund Me donations to help the family with a down payment on a home, they also received interventive services from St. Vincent de Paul of Contra Costa County and its branches, according to Development Director Barb Hunt.

In its online post, St. Vincent de Paul stated that fallout from their challenges “left the Parker family on a precarious edge. They weren’t sure if they would have a roof over their heads much longer, or how they would afford food.” The Parkers sought help via the St. Vincent de Paul branch at St. Callistus Catholic Church in El Sobrante “and formed a lifelong bond with the volunteers there,” per the post.

Hunt said that St. Callistus’ team of volunteers has assisted the Parkers with holiday meals, clothes and as a weekly food resource during their time of need. She added that St. Vincent de Paul has also offered person-to person assistance to Theresa.

“The support of the community in Contra Costa County allowed the Parker family to purchase the home they were living in—a necessity, as they found themselves forced to retrofit the home so Ashley could have mobility and a quality of life,” stated the post.

“The power of community, compassion and love is evident with the Parker family,” the post added.

CORRECTION: The story has been updated to correct the amount of funding raised in the GoFundMe.