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New Haven Marshals Help Return Christmas To Man With ALS After His Van Is Stolen, Damaged

Richard Krueger, right, presents a $1,000 donation to Gilberto Cosme and his son Gilberto, Jr.

Local 2193 of Council 4, representing the New Haven County Marshals Association, donated $1,000 to help a New Haven resident with Lou Gehrig’s Disease re-equip his special needs van, which was stolen Dec. 7 and later found partially stripped of special equipment he needs to move around.

“I read the article about Gilberto Cosme in the New Haven Register and was very moved,” said Richard Krueger, President of the New Haven County Marshals Association. “Our union always tries to help those in need, but something Gilberto's plight grabbed our attention. My phone was ringing off the hook with our members calling, saying we need to do something to help."

Cosme, 39, was diagnosed with ALS in 2009.  One of his sons, 17-year-old Gilberto Jr., helps take care of his father and drives him on errands. Gilberto Jr. said the family van was not only stolen and stripped, but also missing a wheelchair, walker and other mobility equipment -- and a Bible. The vandals also jammed a screwdriver in the ignition. According to the Register, a portable wheelchair ramp was lying near the van.

"I don't know how anyone can stoop so low to do this to a man," Gilberto Jr. said, "but we say thank you [to the Marshals]."

"The headline of the article was ‘Stealing Christmas.’ I would like to think we are helping to bring back a little bit of Christmas back to Gilberto and his family,” said Marshals Association and Local 2193 Union Representative Mark D'Angelis.

D’Angelis said that he hoped that the union’s contribution would spur others to aid Cosme. In fact, many individuals and organizations throughout Greater New Haven have stepped up to the plate to help Gilberto.

The formal name for Lou Gehrig’s disease is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS, an insidious disease that damages nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control muscle movement. In most cases, mental faculties are not affected. ALS occurs throughout the world with no racial, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries, and can strike anyone.

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