April,1989 Lynn, Massachusetts
I met Phil Casey sometime after I moved into the apartment on Tudor Street in Lynn. He was a quiet Irishman who had lived experienced the horrors of the Nazi bombings of London during the Second World War. A few years later Phil immigrated to the United States. When I met him he had recently retired. He lived quietly alone enjoying his walks by the seashore and his books. From time to time I would visit and we’d drink Chablis & watch a classic film like Casablanca or Singing In The Rain. He was pleasant,courteous, & thoughtful…a great neighbor.
Phil had asked about my work at Greater Lynn Mental Health. I told him about the sheltered workshop we were running on Exchange Street near WFNX Radio. At the time we were having trouble finding contracts.The economy was slow and much of the time the individuals were bored. One day he approached me with an idea. “I have some loose change in plastic bottles.” ,he said. Do you think your people might enjoy rolling & counting them?”. At this point I was hungry for anything that would keep them busy. “Sure.” I said. Phil presented me with several huge plastic bottles filled with pennies, nickels, dimes & quarters. We did a wage study to figure how many coins could be rolled in an hour & determine the compensation the individuals would receive for processing this donation. Mr. Casey donated close to $300 dollars in loose change. It kept our folks busy for a couple of days.Around this time we had the good fortune to encounter Milan Hrabovsky, the Warehouse Manager for nearby Rose Displays. Milan was impressed with our industrious group & we began to get regular contracts packaging their products. Mr.Casey’s pennies had brought us good luck.