Some Maine Sunday Telegram readers remember Pauline Long as the lunch lady from school. Others know her husband, Cedric, as the older man who takes walks in his Camden neighborhood and greets all the dogs with treats. Many people didn’t know them at all, but felt moved by the Longs’ story to help the elderly couple, who were financially exploited by their daughter-in-law and son. Gary and Deborah Long got $164,000 that put his parents’ home on the line.
Regardless of their reasons, neighbors from just down the street – and strangers from as far away as Scotland and Hong Kong – had raised more than $9,200 as of Friday for the Longs.
“I read the story and was horrified by it. I lost sleep about it. I put it on Facebook and there was this miraculous rush of people asking, ‘How can we help?’ ” said Loriel Van Dusen of Camden. “I thought: ‘Why am I just sitting here? I could do something.’ ” Van Dusen created a GoFundMe site to collect donations. She has been in touch with the Longs and their attorney, Denis Culley at Legal Services for the Elderly in Augusta, to make sure donations get handled properly. “So many people seemed really willing to help. I thought I should strike while people’s interest was high. I wanted to make it as simple for people as possible to help,” Van Dusen said. Read more »