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Received this from Tom Helvig, USS New Jersey.... He sent this out to all readers of the Jerseyman.




Dear Jason and Jack...


I hope you remember me. In 1987, I was the first woman to drive the BB-62 while at sea. A couple of years ago, I visited the ship and was rewarded with an awesome tour by Tom Banit of Kean University. He even put me on video that day! It was such a wonderful reunion for me and my husband to visit the Battleship and get to see ADM Halsey's quarters where I stayed, etc.


I will try to make this story as short as I can. I desperately need your help and the help of as many shipmates as possible. My son, a former Marine, was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) at the age of 41, only 5 years ago. He currently has less than 19% of his lung function. Before the COPD, he was an active family man, coaching his four kid's sports teams, etc. Today he is on oxygen 24/7. This disease has progressed so fast that his doctors now say that he is in need of a double lung transplant. This is truly a life or death situation. The problem is that his health insurance will only cover about $80,000 of the $1 million operation!


The family has been doing many, many fundraisers, and last year, his employer, Pohanka Automotive Group of Salisbury MD, started a huge raffle to help raise the money for his operation. As a result, he has been given a lot of local publicity, and was even on The Early Show once. But we are desperate for NATIONAL attention to save his life. The auto dealership is raffling off complete ownership of a Sarasota, FL town home, AND a 2009 Mercedes-Benz SL550! The raffle has been going on since last March and we have sold just a little over 5,000 tickets, a fraction of the number needed to be sold. Tickets are $50 each and the raffle will end on March 31, 2010.


As a mother, I am getting desperate! We are all getting scared as the end of this big raffle nears, but we keep praying and having faith that a miracle really can occur. I am praying that you can help this "miracle" happen for Chuck.


Chuck was such an active little boy. He was a roller speed-skater and even won tenth in the national championships. He loved the outdoors then, as he still does. But then he could play and swim, and skate and run. Picture me, a single mom, holding him up on his two-wheeled bike and letting him go, peddling by I would give my own life if he could ride that bike today.


His wife and children love and need him. I love and need him more than words could ever say. I don't mean to be so "sappy"...when you last met me, I was a I am just a desperate mother. I am pleading for you to check out his story at (search on Chuck Campbell) or on Facebook (either Mary MacKinnon or Chuck Campbell) There is also a website, for people who want to donate or buy a raffle ticket. Thank you for your help and PLEASE try to get the word out NATIONALLY so we can save him. He's so worth it.


A Grateful Mom,

Mary MacKinnon