SLO is seen by many as a place where happy people live. That is true of most of us who live in the county. However, it is not true of all.
Recently, a 62-year-old mechanic, John Mattly, died after suffering from heart problems. Heart surgery was not possible until all of his remaining teeth were extracted because of severe infection.
Unfortunately, because of his fear of how he and his family could survive without his income and his inability to pay for having his teeth removed, his infected teeth were never removed.
As a longtime customer of the RV repair shop where he worked, I knew him well. One of Johns trademarks was he always called his customers Boss.
Recently his former employer, Tuffy, was killed while repairing an RV. John managed to stay on the job, thanks to another customer who purchased the business. Recently, though, I noticed Johns illness was becoming much more pronounced.
He lost his ability to work, yet he came to the shop in the hope of carrying on as usual.
It was then that I began to seek out resources that could help him, such as a dentist and/or an agency that would assist him in his time of great need. I did come up with some contacts, but it was a Friday, and it seemed like few of the people I attempted to contact were available.
Later that day, I called Johns workplace and was informed that he had died after falling in his home. It was the very day that he was to have a stress test.
John was a very proud, caring husband and father of three children. He was never afraid of working.
Years ago, I asked Tuffy why he and his employee did not have health insurance, and he said the business could not afford to buy insurance. He also said that both he and his employee were not able to get insurance because of their previous health problems another good reason we need a safety net for all citizens in need of health care.
Can those of us living in the happiest community come together to help families in need, families like John Mattlys?
I trust that some of us collectively will do so by contributing to the family to pay for his funeral expenses. A memorial benefit account, No. 861003491, has been established at Rabobank in the name of John Mattly/Nina Mattly to help pay for Johns last expenses.
Another opportunity to help would be to attend a chicken barbecue benefit on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. It will be held at the corner of Brisco Road and Grand Avenue in Arroyo Grande. Tickets are $10 per person.
Services for John Mattly begin at 5 p.m. Monday at the Marshall-Spoo Sunset Funeral Chapel on Longbranch Avenue in Grover Beach.
Thank you for considering this personal plea to make the family aware that, yes, there are caring SLO County residents willing to demonstrate that, as a community, we do want to help. I know that the family will be most grateful.
Karl Bareither is one of many of John Mattlys customers and friends.