Christmas came a bit early for the Escamilla family of Tooele.
The Transcript Bulletin delivered presents, food items and cash donations to the Escamilla family, its 2014 Benefit Fund recipient.
“I’m trying so hard not to cry,” said 13-year-old Maria.
The family has undergone big challenges this year. In February, Maria began to experience crippling pain, which, after nearly nine months of doctors appointments, hospital stays and inconclusive medical tests, was diagnosed as endometriosis. The level of care she required during that time prompted mom Wendy to quit her job, which took the family down to a single income from dad Jose.
Just as Maria was starting to feel better, Rosa, now 11, started experiencing health problems of her own. She was diagnosed in November with diabetes.
Despite their troubles, which have continued financially in the form of Jose’s paychecks being garnished for the family’s considerable medical bills, the family has bonded together with simple pleasures, like watching movies together or playing games.
And, thanks to a county full of generous Transcript Bulletin readers, the family can now have a much merrier Christmas than they ever thought possible.
Together with the donations from readers, the Transcript Bulletin gave more than $2,500 to the Escamillas, as well as dozens of wrapped presents, bags of clothing and food, and toys and games to the family.
“Oh, look, Angel, you got something really cool,” said Rosa peeking in one bag to her 15-year-old brother.
“They haven’t smiled like this in a while,” said Wendy, nodding to Maria, Rosa, Angel and 16-year-old Jose.
Helping deliver the donations was Cpl. Mike Jones of the Grantsville City Police Department. Jones, the department’s K-9 handler, brought along his partner, Chaos, and wife, Melissa, to give a demonstration of the Belgian malinois’ policing capabilities.
Jones also gave advice to the younger Jose, whose dream is to one day become a police officer and K-9 handler.
“It’s not like it used to be,” he said. “They’re not going to just take you [into the academy] if you graduate from high school. They want to know you did well. Do good in school, and stay out of trouble.”
But, Jones added, being a K-9 handler was even more rewarding than he had thought before he got his first police dog.
“You couldn’t ask for a better partner,” he said. “They always listen to you and they never talk back.”
The family was overwhelmed with gratitude by the generosity they received.
“Thank you,” Wendy said. “Thank you so much.”