A Collector Series Story
Charles W. Bird
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locales is entirely accidental. This story is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced by any means without the express, written permission of the author.
UP AND RUNNING
Bass Gunter was appointed Facility Manager for New Dawn Boy's Home and he quickly set up his Gorillas as house mentors. It was apparent that more would be needed, all 9 Gorillas were fully occupied with their boys and then some.
After talking with Richie and Jason, he decided to give the Navy-Marine Corps Reserve Training Center in Seattle call. They usually kept a list of Reservists that needed jobs.
He spoke with a young Navy Petty Officer on the phone who told him that they were flooded with young men who had no work. Bass took the next day and drove over to speak with the folks at the Training Center. He described to them what the job entailed and they gave him a list of 20 names to contact.
He called some of them right from the Training Center and they all were willing to come down and talk with him. Bass was impressed with all the young men, there were 11 of them. After talking, they all agreed to go back with him and see what the job entailed. Bass assured them he would provide a ride back to Seattle that night.
They arrived at New Dawn right at lunch time so Bull handed them trays and fed them right along with HIS boys. Carl Anders, a hulking Marine Lance Corporal said, "Jeeze, with food like this, we need to run!
Little Bennie limped over to the big man and said, "Are you gonna be one of our Daddies?" The huge man knelt down, and put his arms around the little boy and said, "Would you like me to?" Bennie giggled and said, "Yeah, you are cuddly"
The Marine Combat Veteran picked the little boy up, his tears running off his cheeks and looked around, he growled, "MARINES don't cry!" Bennie giggled again and nobody said a word!
Bass thought, "Well, there's one!" At the end of the day, only one man felt he could not live in such a small town, they had 10 new Gorillas and several more prospects still in Seattle.
Right after lunch, Jason took the van and went to the Post Office, they were waiting for some forms from the State Fire Marshal's Office. He went in and the package was there, as he walked out of the building he heard a child crying. That raised his interest immediately, looking around, he spotted a boy standing next to the garbage dumpster behind the sandwich shop.
The boy saw him and started to run away, Jason was in good condition and soon overtook the child. The little boy cowered against the chain link fence, "Don't hit me, I wasn't taking nothing…."
Jason scooped up the boy and held him gently, "Son, I wasn't worried about that, what were you looking for?"
The boy cried and said, "Mister, I am so hungry, just a scrap or something, please…." Jason, barely in control of himself, replied, "Son, how about we get you some real lunch?"
The little boy's eyes lit up and said, "OK, what do I have to do for it?" Jason ground his teeth and replied, "Just eat it."
He carried the boy on his hip and picked up the package he had tossed aside. Back at the van, he put the boy on the seat and got a full whiff of a very dirty boy.
He started up the van and headed for New Dawn. As he entered the driveway, he flashed the headlights. Bass saw him arrive and guessed the headlights meant trouble so he went to meet the van.
The little boy cried again, "Don't hurt me, please don't hit me." Bass leaned down and picked the child up off the seat saying, "I'll bet that old cook has some lunch still in the kitchen."
Bass looked at Jason, who nodded that the boy was to stay at New Dawn. Bass was amazed at how much food the little guy could put away, finally he said, "Son, you can have some more tonight, or tomorrow, you don't have to eat it all right now."
The boy's eyes got wide and he said, "yo, y YOU mean, I can stay here tonight?" Bass laughed and told the boy, "Yes, tonight, and tomorrow night, you live here now, this is your home."
The little boy backed away from Bass and said, "Does I gotta do sex stuff with you?"
Bass sat on the floor, holding the boy and said, "No, you do not, not now, not ever again. You are safe here." At that, both the boy and the man lost the battle of tears and just sat there hugging each other with a flood of tears running down both their faces.
They learned that the boy was Harris Johnston and he had run from a foster home in Wenatchee, where he had been abused by the man.
Bass had standing instructions from both Richie and Jason to call in the Sheriff and Ken Grimes, their lawyer, when situations like this took place. Custody of the boy was transferred to The New Dawn Home for Boys immediately and an arrest warrant issued for the rapist.
The reputation of New Dawn Boy's Home grew by leaps and bounds. By mid-summer it was evident that additional room was going to be needed so, after a meeting of the Board of Directors, a contract was let to expand into the adjacent property.
A new, six story complex was to be erected, the ground floor would have an indoor swimming facility, basketball courts, offices and a medical treatment room. The two buildings would be connected and dining facilities would remain in the original building.
The new building would house an additional 200 boys in 2–boy apartments. Construction was begun immediately and a bonus was offered if completed by Christmas. The contractor was determined to earn that bonus!
Right after school resumed in the fall, the family was seated to lunch when the telephone rang. John went to answer it, they could hear his voice becoming agitated and finally they heard him shout, "I don't give a damn, shootem' if you need too, just protect those boys, we will be there right away. You hear me Jasper?"
John then slammed the telephone down and returned to the dining room stomping his feet. He related, "That was Sheriff Jasper Collins. We need to go NOW!" He turned to his wife and said, "Emma, call Bass at New Dawn and have him be ready to receive 15 badly hurt boys!"
He went running out of the room, followed by Richie and Jason. He said to Richie, "Grab the van, meet me out front, I'll be right there." Richie grabbed the keys for the van and both men ran for the driveway.
John arrived at a dead run, he handed each man a pistol and said, "They are loaded, now DRIVE!" "Richie said, "Yes Sir, where?" John's only reply was, "The Moonridge!"
The Moonridge was a notorious motel just outside town. Richie ran every stoplight getting out of town and was taking the corners on two wheels. They reached the highway in record time and Richie found the van would cruise nicely at 90 miles per hour!
He skidded to a stop in front of the notorious motel, there must have been 20 cars from several law enforcement agencies, red lights flashing and radios all squawking!
Sheriff Collins ran up to the van, "Now John, calm down. We got all the boys out, but some are hurt pretty bad."
John replied, "Jason is a qualified medic and has Battlefield experience." Jason grabbed his emergency kit and jumped out of the van and followed the Sheriff to a grassy area where bleeding boys were laid out on blankets. He turned to the Sheriff and screamed, "Ben Rosenthal, get Ben here fast!"
The Sheriff dispatched a car to collect the Doctor and Jason went to work on those boys hurt the worst. Richie and John assisted him and shortly, Ben Rosenthal and his Nurse arrived to help.
Boys were cut and bleeding, some had serious burns and one looked like someone had tried to beat his face in. When the worst of the injuries had been treated, Ben Rosenthal said, "Can we bring the boys to New Dawn, the nearest hospital is Quincy, more than an hour away."
Richie and Jason both replied at the same time, "YES!" By that time all 10 New Dawn Gorillas had arrived as well as the 12 mentors. They were all veterans of military actions and had experience handling casualties. The fact that these were all young boys, made it difficult, but they could cry later.
They filled the van with hurt boys and 6 more police cars. They took off for New Dawn, racing through town with red lights flashing and sirens screaming.
They cleared off the tables in the dining area and made it a triage center, the First Aid Room became an emergency operating room. The town's citizens noticed the activity and began to arrive in the front of New Dawn.
A Deputy went outside and told them what was happening, that Law Enforcement had apprehended a Child Prostitution Ring that was holding young boys captive. The boys had been hurt and they were doing everything they could to save them.
Soon, lighted candles began to appear in people's hands and the crowd got larger. A pile of Teddy Bears, blankets, clothing, sheets, towels, even pajamas and slippers began to grow at the front door.
Cadets from the High School JROTC appeared to direct traffic, schools were let out that the students could attend the vigil.
Buckets appeared at businesses with a sign, HELP THE HURT BOYS AT NEW DAWN!
Local sentiment was so high, the criminals were sent to jail in Quincy for their own protection. Ben, Jason, Ben's Nurse, Mary, Richie and John, along with the Gorillas, worked until dawn keeping those boys alive.
Bull and his kitchen crew fed the New Dawn boys picnic style and kept coffee flowing to those working to save lives. Coffee was sent outside to those holding vigil.
Throughout the night, the crowd got larger, not smaller! About 8 am, a weary Ben Rosenthal and Jason spoke to the crowd, "Folks, it was touch and go for a couple of boys, but they are all going to make it!"
A huge cry and applause went up from the crowd. A young boy, carrying a teddy bear as big as he was, walked up to Dr. Rosenthal and said, "Sir, give my Teddy to a boy who really needs him."
Ben leaned down and replied, "Come with me, you can give it to him yourself." He turned and said to the crowd, "14 more boys, come on, let bring some joy to these boys."
About 50 boys stepped forward, that was ok, Ben let all of them in the makeshift ward. Some friendships that were to last lifetimes were formed in the next few minutes.
When the visiting boys came back outside, one older boy threw up his clenched fist and shouted, "WE GOT NEW BROTHERS!" The crowd cheered and then, slowly, began to dissipate.
Sentiment was so strong in the area, the criminals had to be tried in Seattle, all of them got life imprisonment without parole. The judge told them the only reason they did not get death was the State of Washington had done away with the death penalty!
The new building was completed on time and Christmas was celebrated in the Basketball area. For many of the boys, it was the first Christmas they had ever celebrated, let alone to receive gifts!
In January, just before school resumed, the Cadet Commanding Officer of the High School JROTC asked if he could speak with the high school age boys at New Dawn. About 100 boys attended.
Cadet Lt. Colonel John Manning told the boys what the JROTC was about, what they did and what new boys could expect if they joined. Of about 100 boys, 80 signed up.
Richie made a generous donation to the unit for uniforms and materials and asked only that it be anonymous.
Winter finally loosened its grip on the small community and boys' thoughts started to turn to boys' things. Fishing trips and camping trips were arranged, overnight mountain treks were led by New Dawn Gorillas and one enterprising group of New Dawn Boys started a lawn care business!
A BUMPY ROAD AHEAD
As with any group that grows as fast as New Dawn did, there are bound to be a few problems. One of those problems was Danny Glover. Nobody knew for sure what Danny's problem was but one night he suddenly turned up missing. He was not a trouble maker and, in fact, he was well liked by the other boys.
It was at bed check that his disappearance was discovered. Nobody had seen him all day and none had a clue as to where he might be. Richie and Jason drove the streets in vain, no trace of the boy was found.
The next morning, Sheriff Collins called, "Are you fellas missing a boy?" Jason replied that they were. The Sheriff said, "Well, maybe you better get down here to the Washington Street Bridge, it's not good."
Jason hollered for Richie and went running for the truck, he said to Richie, "You better let me drive." Richie looked at him, "What's wrong love?" Jason replied, "I think maybe its Danny!"
At that, Richie broke down in tears, "Oh, God, Jason, please no.!"
When they both had recovered a bit they headed to the location indicated by the Sheriff. A Deputy was waiting for them and took them to Sheriff Jasper Collins.
The Sheriff looked like he had just seen his own ghost, "He's down there fellows, I, I, I can't go back there for a bit."
Jason and Richie worked their way down the embankment, there was a small body covered by a blanket laid out on the dirt. A Deputy lifted the blanket so they could identify the body beneath it. It was Danny, mauled and beaten, very dead.
Richie and Jason clung to each other for many minutes, trying with little success to control their emotions. Danny Glover, age 14 was dead. Ben Rosenthal came to make an estimate of time of death and he called John to come and get Richie and Jason, they were in no condition to drive home.
The crime was never solved, the boy had been sexually assaulted and then beat to death. It was this time period that the leadership of Jefferson Wills, the boy/father, surfaced.
At the evening meal, Jeff stood up and asked for everyone's attention, "New Dawn Boys, we have suffered a terrible loss, one of our own has died. His body is at Dr. Rosenthal's Clinic. Let us go forth from here and stand vigil over our Brother!"
The entire Boy Population stood and slowly marched from the room to the outside, down the street and assembled in front of the Clinic. Jeff announced to all, "We stand here for our Brother, Danny Glover."
Suddenly, townspeople brought candles and handed them to each boy. Once they were lighted, a voice in the dark began singing "Amazing Grace". All the boys picked it up.
After they finished, all the boys sat down and remained there all through the night, their hands locked with each other in grief. The next morning, a casket was delivered and the boys escorted Danny home.
The funeral was scheduled for 3pm, at 2:30 boys began to assemble. Again Jeff stood before his brothers and asked them to remain standing. At 3pm, all were in the Dining Hall.
Jeff, holding his baby son, stood and began speaking, "My Brothers, none of us is alone in this world, reach out to a brother and hold his hand. Jeff held his son's hand and continued, "Our Brother, Danny, died alone, without his brothers to protect him, without his brothers to love him, without his brothers to keep him from harm. Hold onto your brother, MY BROTHERS. Guide Him, Love Him, Protect Him, Let Him know THAT YOU ARE THERE FOR HIM. We cannot go back now and save our Brother, Danny but we CAN go from here vowing that THIS THING SHALL NOT EVER HAPPEN AGAIN! We are a Community of Brothers, if the least one of us is hurt, we all are hurting, if the least one of us dies, we are all dying. Let none of us stand alone. We go now to bury our Brother, we do it in silence, we do it in reverence and we do in our love of each other."
At that, the boys rose as one, eight of the older boys stepped forward and grasped the handles of the coffin. They marched out the front door, bypassing the hearse that was there to convey the casket to the cemetery and proceeded down the street, across the small town and into the cemetery where an awful and accusing hole awaited them.
Jeff looked at the minister who had volunteered to conduct the service and said, "Reverend, thank you but this is Boy's Business. We will bury our Brother, We will pay reverence to our Brother and We will keep our Brother in our hearts for all of time."
They lowered Danny's casket into that terrible hole and each boy passed, placing a handful of dirt in it, telling their Brother he was not, is not, will not be forgotten!
Jeff helped his baby son throw the final handful of dirt into the hole and Jeff stood, "The youngest of us has placed the final handful of dirt to cover our Brother. We go from this place with a new resolve, with a new hope, with a new determination that we will be there for our Brothers in their time of need, in their time of desperation and in their time hope. You are not forgotten Brother Danny, do not forget us either for we are still there for you."
With tears in his eyes, Jeff leaned over the grave and said, "Good bye for now, Brother." Each boy passed and said those same words. Each boy had grown towards manhood in the awful moment.
That evening, Jefferson Wills took yet another step to being a Leader of Men, he asked Richie and Jason what he needed to do, to go to college, what he needed to do to become part of the management of New Dawn Home for Boy's.
In years to come, Jeff Wills and Jeff Wills, Jr. would guide not only New Dawn but all of the State of Washington in setting the standard for the care of homeless children.
From that awful day, Jefferson Wills spoke out at every opportunity to protect the community's children, to shelter the homeless and protect the helpless.
While still in college, he would start the Wills Foundation, a charitable foundation among college men to provide shelter, warmth, love and food for homeless boys.
Every evening, Jeff Wills and later, in company with Jeff Wills, Jr., roamed the streets in search of those needing shelter. He finished high school at night school and entered college, taking classes each summer that he might graduate sooner. He graduated Summa cum Laude in three years.
Twenty-one years later, his son would accomplish the same feat!
Despite awful tragedy, life must go on and the routine returned to normal, except for one difference, there was a new awareness between the boys. Boys would be seen in town in pairs, even holding each other's hand. Groups of boys combed the town and surrounding towns in search of homeless boys.
The boys, who had joined the JROTC in the high school, encouraged their fellow cadets to do the same.
Older boys guided the younger ones in their activities, organized games and sports, and assisted in school work. They formed House Councils in each building and began governing themselves.
As Christmas again drew near, both buildings were nearing capacity. The Board of Directors met and decided to construct yet another building, one much larger than either of the others. The new building would have a capacity of 600 boys. Surely, they thought that would be sufficient.
Little did they realize that would gain them only a few years before construction would again be needed!
Again, tragedy struck, Grams Emma, Grandmother to more than 500 boys, died in her sleep. John was devastated as were Richie and Jason. She was their rock, their anchor in life.
No less, did the boys grieve, they gathered in front of the "Big House" in silence, holding candles of mourning and tears streaming down their faces. All day and all night they stood there, paying homage to the woman who had loved them all so much.
Jefferson Wills knocked on the door as spokesman for all the boys, when John came to the door, he said, "Sir, we come to do our Grams honor, we wish to escort her this one last time."
He opened the door and let the boys file in to pass by her casket. Each boy kissed the wooden rail, their faces drawn in anguish. The next day, the boys marched beside the hearse, guarding it all the way to the cemetery.
After the Pastor had conducted the Burial Service, Jeff Will stood and walked slowly to the head of Emma's Casket. He bowed his head for a few moments and then began to speak, "Lord God, above us all, take our Grandmother unto your bosom, hold her gently while she waits for us to join her."
Then, each boy filed around the casket and again kissed the wooden rail on the top. Many murmured their own prayers of thanks for having this wonderful lady in their lives. Without a sound, the boys then marched together to John, Richard and Jason. They each hugged the men and many also kissed them on the cheek before they began the return journey back to New Dawn.
It was a somber group of boys at the evening meal when Jeff jumped up on a table and said, "New Dawn Boys, we have lost our Grandmother but would SHE approve of our sadness? Would SHE approve of our lack of life? NO, Grams Emma was full of life and fun! We do her no honor with our somber tears, let her hear the sounds of our joy and happiness. Let her hear that we are happy boys, full of life and spirit!"
Slowly, over the next several days, life at New Dawn recovered. The Board of Directors met to decide who should replace Emma on the board. Dr. Ben Rosenthal was voted in as a Member and then Jason made a motion to elect Jefferson Wills to the board, also.
The vote was unanimous. Construction began immediately on the third New Dawn building, it would require a year for completion. By that time, both older buildings were beyond capacity, some rooms had three boys in them, rather than turn a boy in need away.
Jefferson Wills continued his role of leadership, he had become The Voice of the Boys in community affairs. He would stand in advocacy at Town Meetings, he made a trip with John to speak at the State Legislature and he attended local and community organization meetings to advocate the needs of homeless boys.
LIFE GOES ON
Life settled down and, at long last, the new building was completed and certified for occupancy.
Some of the boys were not overjoyed that their "extra" tenants were moving out of the overcrowded rooms. Friendships had been made and it was hard to see a friend move away, even if it was only to the next building.
The new building included group study halls that became immensely popular. Older boys proctored the study sessions and a gradual improvement of academic scores began showing up.
The Board of Directors voted to provide financial assistance to the School System so that another Elementary School and additions to the High School could be undertaken.
Jeff Wills started night school to obtain his High School Diploma, more than one "argument" took place on who was going to babysit Jr.! Jeff's son had become the "mascot" for New Dawn.
On the Fourth of July, a parade was held. The boys decorated Richie's truck and Jr. sat in a high chair, held down by two boys laying down, concealed in the bed of the truck. He held a Teddy Bear that he waved at all the folks lining the street.
The Grand Marshal's prize went to the boys, who promptly installed it in Jr.'s room. It was a Giant Teddy Bear!
Summer came around again and a group of boys led by Jeff organized a canoe trip down the river. Andy Carson, one of the mentors went along to provide adult supervision. Andy carried one of the radios for safety.
They had been gone less than a day when the radio in the office crackled, "New Dawn 1, this is Mentor 1, over…" Jason was in the office, so he replied, "Mentor 1, New Dawn 1, go ahead…". New Dawn 1, Mentor 1, We have a group of boys at the First Avenue Bridge in Wenatchee, all of them are hurt. They are all homeless, but not our boys, over."
Jason replied, "Mentor 1, New Dawn 1, We are on our way, It will take us 20 minutes to get there. Use your blankets to keep the hurt boys warm. New Dawn 1 out…"
He saw Richie in the hall and hollered at him, "HURT BOYS!" The two men ran for the van and headed out of town to the highway. They spotted a Sheriff also going the same direction, their dispatcher had monitored the transmission and sent him to assist.
The Deputy cleared the highway with his lights and siren and they raced to the bridge. When they got there, Jeff was standing at the roadside to flag them down.
The mentor, Andy, had five boys wrapped in bedrolls and New Dawn boys were comforting the injured. After checking each boy, Jason decided that none were in life threatening situations, he bandaged the more serious wounds and they loaded the injured boys into the van, promising to send help to get the New Dawn boys and their equipment back home.
One New Dawn boy, Gordon Bell, asked if he could assist and Jason told him to hop in the back of the van and help keep the boys calm. On the return trip, Gordon assisted Jason in controlling the bleeding on several boys and keeping the others from panic.
Once they got the boys into the First Aid Room, Gordon continued to assist Jason, who was impressed with his calm demeanor and care towards the boys. After the emergency was over, Jason sat down with Gordon and asked him, "Gord, how old are you?"
The boy replied, "I am 17 and a senior in high school." Jason continued, "What do you want to do when you get out of High School?" The boy looked down at his feet and mumbled, "Get a job, I guess."
Jason replied, "Gordon, THAT is not the answer I was looking for, WHAT do YOU want to be? The TRUTH, now!"
Gordon said, "I would like to be a doctor, but that can never be." Jason said, "Why not? DO NOT tell me about having no money!"
He took Gordon Bell into the office, sat him down and handed him a sheaf of papers, "Start filling those blanks!"
The boy looked at the papers and went goggle-eyed when he read, "APPLICATION FOR NEW DAWN COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY SCHOLARSHIP" He said, "Bu, bu, BUT." Jason cut him off saying, "WRITE, now!"
At the end of the school year and High School Graduation, it was announced that Gordon Bell had won an all expenses scholarship to the University of Washington and Medical School after that!
The new building was filling up fast, The Board of Directors met to discuss alternatives and how to cope with the growing homeless boy population. Jeff proposed they build a second New Dawn in another town, like Wenatchee.
His suggestion was discussed and finally accepted. They would name to the new location "Emma Lynn McKinley Memorial Campus" and Bass Gunter was named as Campus Manager. It would be two years before the new facility was ready for occupancy.
The day it opened it already had 25 boys! Some of the New Dawn Gorillas followed Bass to Wenatchee, Jerry Johanson took up duties running the kitchen and Carl Anders became the manager for New Dawn, Cashmere.
Between the two facilities, New Dawn Boy's Home was caring for a little over 1,000 boys!
The Navy-Marine Corps Reserve Training Center in Seattle had become a major source of new employees.
Shortly after the Wenatchee Facility opened, Richie got a telephone call from a frantic Petty Officer at the Training Center, "Sir, we have a situation here. Gunny Marston and his wife were killed last night in a hit and run accident. Their young son, Donald is sitting here, there are no surviving relatives and we sure don't want the boy to be farmed out to some foster parent in it for the money!"
Richie thought for a moment, "You didn't call me, send someone over here with the boy that you FOUND standing alongside the highway."
The Petty Officer was quick witted and he replied, "Gee, sir, I found this boy, it will take me a couple of hours to get over the mountains." Richie chuckled, "You got it in one, figure on spending the night with us before you head back home!"
Donny Marston was a tall, gangly 16 year old boy with a shock of red hair that defied all attempts to comb it! He had a flair for soccer and was very popular with the younger boys, who he taught to play the game. He applied for admission to Annapolis and was accepted, he would retire after more than 30 years service as a Brigadier General, USMC!
John McKinley was lost without his Emma, she was the love of his life. Richie and Jason watched him go downhill and could do nothing to stop the decline.
One morning, Miss Charlotte brought him his coffee to drink while he shaved. They both came running when they heard her scream. John had died during the night, he had joined his beloved Emma.
Richie was nearly inconsolable. His Grandfather had raised him, pulled through the "knothole" when he had his own crisis and now he was gone. Jason was his pillar of strength, Jason pulled him back together and gave him the will to carry on.
The funeral was carried out with great solemnity, the New Dawn Boys again, stood in all night vigil and insisted on carrying the coffin themselves.
The New Dawn Boys who were JROTC Cadets were the Honor Guard and, upon firing the Rifle Salute, they correctly folded the Flag that had covered John's coffin and presented it to Richie.
They escorted Richie and Jason back home and stood guard at the front door for the next 24 hours. When Richie arrived at the New Dawn office, a new sign had been painted and mounted out front, "Brigadier General John Rufus McKinley Memorial Campus" New Dawn Home for Boys.
Bass Gunter was elected to the Board of Directors and a third campus was designated for Middlefork. It would be smaller than the one in Wenatchee, but it would have the potential for expansion.
Allen Durr was designated at the Facility Manager at Middlefork. Allen was one of the original New Dawn Gorillas, a quiet man with great inner strength and calm demeanor.
A cook was found at the Training Center and the young Petty Officer, who had saved Donny Marston, had retired, Richie snapped him up almost before he had unbuttoned his uniform, to be the first Mentor.
The Middlefork facility was named, The Charlotte Conners Campus, New Dawn Home for Boys, much to Miss Charlotte's dismay. It had a capacity of 125 boys and a week after it opened the census stood at 65 boys!
The fame of New Dawn had spread and boys from all over made their way to them. Sometimes, near tragically.
The Sheriff called one morning before breakfast and Jason answered, "Jason, you and Richie need to get down to the bus depot right away, Ben Rosenthal has already been called."
Jason thought, "Dear God, what now?" He called out to Richie, who was shaving and said, "Love, there is trouble at the Greyhound Depot, the Sheriff needs us right away. He has already called Ben Rosenthal!"
Richie came running out of the bedroom, wiping shaving soap off his face, "Let's go" and they ran down to Richie's truck and sped off.
When they got there, the bus driver was saying, "This kid got on the bus in Seattle, he was weaving around, I thought he was just tipsy." He continued, "It wasn't until I got here and opened the door that I saw blood!"
Ben had the youngster laid out on a blanket, his trousers were soaked bright red. He said, "Richie, the boy is bleeding rectally, we don't have time to get him to Quincy, he won't make it!"
Jason ran back to the truck and yanked the new mobile radio mic off the dash, nearly taking the dash with it. "John McKinley House 1, this is New Dawn 1, Emergency, over."
"New Dawn 1, John McKinley House 1, go ahead, …" "John McKinley House, New Dawn 1, Get the First Aid Room set up for surgery, clear the main floor and have some helpers standing by… New Dawn 1 out"
They put the boy in the bed of the truck, covering him with several blankets. The Bus Driver hopped into the truck bed, "To Hell with the bus, this boy needs me more!"
The Sheriff ran interference with red lights and siren, Richie stayed on his bumper all the way to New Dawn. Six boys were standing at the door, they formed a chair carry and carried the boy laying flat.
Ben's Nurse, Mary had already scrubbed and was standing in the makeshift surgery. Jason cut the boy's clothing away as Ben scrubbed, then he scrubbed.
The boy had lost a lot of blood and the small town did not have a blood bank. Mary stuck her head out the door, "We need type O+ blood-universal donor, line up!" Richie was type O+, so Richie stood first in line, Carl Anders was right behind him and so was the Sheriff!
Nearly 8 hours later, Ben staggered out of the surgery and flopped in a chair, "I'm getting too old for this, when does Gordon Bell graduate? Richie replied, "Not soon enough!"
The poor bus driver was in tears, he kept saying, "I should have seen it, I should have seen it.
Two days later, they were able to talk with the boy, he was Willy O'Connel. He was homeless and he was attacked in Seattle by some older boys. The word on the street in Seattle was, if you were hurt, get to New Dawn, if you needed a home, get to New Dawn.
The bus driver quit his job and went back to school to become a social worker. When he graduated, he went to work for The New Dawn Foundation as an investigator and spent the remainder of his life rescuing boys.
Gordon Bell did come back and went into practice with Ben Rosenthal. Together, they built and outfitted an emergency surgery at each New Dawn Facility! Willy O'Connel went on to college and also became a Social Worker for New Dawn in addition to becoming a State Legislator who championed new laws protecting homeless children.
COMING OF AGE
The oldest building, the old Cattleman's Hotel was torn down and a new 10 story. Modern structure was built in its place. Included was a full operating suite, x-ray room and a small 6 bed ward. Everything in the building was state of the art. There was even a communications center that included both telephone and radio communications for all locations.
The facility at Middlefork was enlarged twice, and could accommodate 600 boys. The Foundation had a total 2600 beds. By the time Richie's health forced he and Jason to retire, kind of, The New Dawn Foundation had cared for 24,000 boys over 22 years.
The wounds that Richie had suffered from the Taliban Rocket finally took their toll. He retired and Jason with him, in order to care for Richie. They lived in The McKinley Home. Miss Charlotte had retired, but they still had a wonderful cook, Bull Johanson had retired and now cooked just for Richie and Jason.
Richie became very shaky. Dr. Gordon Bell, MD checked on Richie every day or so and, of course, Jason was right there all the time.
One morning Gordon came to check on Richie, Bull let him in and went back to the kitchen to fix breakfast. He heard Gordon scream, "OH, NO, OH GOD, NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
The big man went crashing up the stairs and found Gordon sitting on the floor crying. Richie was laying in his bed with Jason's arms wrapped around him. They were both dead.
March 3, 2026 – Mr. Richard James McKinley and Mr. Jason Oscar Krill, both of Cashmere, Washington passed away last week. They were Founders and Officers of The New Dawn Foundation and New Dawn Home for Boys. Mr. Richard McKinley was a former United States Marine, wounded in Afghanistan. He was the son of a pioneer Washington Family. Mr. Jason Krill also served in Afghanistan with Mr. McKinley. Both their estates list New Dawn Home for Boy's as their sole beneficiaries. More than 15,000 men, all former New Dawn Boys gathered for their funeral, military officers, state officials, business men and, this reporter also, New Dawn Boys, all of us. The Honorable Craig Low, Governor of the State of Washington and, himself a former New Dawn Boy, ordered all flags to be flown at half mast. He led the procession, on foot, from the New Dawn Headquarters to the Family Cemetery and, as tradition dictates, Six New Dawn Men carried the casket from the Rotunda of New Dawn Home for Boys to the Burial site. Mr. Jeffery Wills and his son Mr. Jeffery Wills, Jr. each read the eulogy and the assembled men sang a beautiful rendition of "Amazing Grace" The State of Washington, and, indeed the entire nation is a better place because Mr. McKinley and Mr. Krill lived here.