Cou­ple need car, clean­ing ser­vices

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - Con­tin­ued from B Con­tact Gary Dinges at 912-5987. Twit­ter: @gdinges

th­ese two souls to­gether in this ad­ven­ture we call life,” he told at­ten­dees.

They cel­e­brated with a cake do­nated by the Cake Plate.

The past few years have been es­pe­cially try­ing for Hal­tom and Townsend. Their de­te­ri­o­rat­ing health has made them un­able to work, and bills have piled up. Each day, they must travel from one doc­tor’s ap­point­ment to the next in an un­re­li­able car that’s al­most 20 years old.

“This is a vic­tory — a cel­e­bra­tion — for th­ese guys,” said Hunter Townsend, their son. “We’ve had to get over so many things, but we’ve just used that as an op­por­tu­nity to grow closer to­gether.”

Amer­i­can-States­man read­ers al­ready have pitched in to help Hal­tom and Townsend in a num­ber of ways.

They’ve se­cured dental care and a new bed, among other things, and Thun­der­ing Paws An­i­mal Sanc­tu­ary has pro­vided ve­teri­nary care for their pets.

“Their qual­ity of life has im­proved dra­mat­i­cally,” said Z Blair, their Care Com­mu­ni­ties case worker. “They have less to worry about, which is huge.”

But they could still use a new car or a me­chanic to work on the ve­hi­cle they cur­rently own. They also need help with home health care; hav­ing as­sis­tive de­vices in­stalled; laun­dry and clean­ing ser­vices; gro­cery and gas gift cards; and a cell­phone and cel­lu­lar ser­vice.

“I’ve been over­whelmed by the gen­eros­ity of the Austin com­mu­nity,” Townsend said. “It’s been a won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence.”

“We have more to be thank­ful for this Christ­mas than we’ve had in years,” Hal­tom said.

To find out more about Hal­tom and Townsend or to help with some­thing on their wish list, con­tact the Care Com­mu­ni­ties at 4595883 or the­carecom­mun ities.org.

Love is the best medicine. Life part­ners Paul Hal­tom and Daniel Townsend, both liv­ing with HIV and a host of other se­ri­ous ail­ments, reaf­firmed their de­vo­tion to each other Satur­day at a com­mit­ment cer­e­mony held in the back­yard of their North Austin home.

The cou­ple, to­gether for more than a decade, were joined by friends, so­cial work­ers and two of their chil­dren.

Hal­tom, 37, and Townsend, 57, are one of the fam­i­lies fea­tured in this year’s Austin Amer­i­can-States­man Sea­son for Car­ing cam­paign, which raises thou­sands an­nu­ally to help needy Cen­tral Tex­ans through lo­cal non­profit agen­cies.

“It’s like I’m in a fairy tale,” Hal­tom said. “I never, ever thought this would hap­pen. It’s just … in­cred­i­ble.”

Roger Temme, di­rec­tor of vol­un­teer re­cruit­ment for the Care Com­mu­ni­ties, the orga- niza­tion that nom­i­nated the cou­ple, led the cer­e­mony.

“It’s di­vine love that brought

VALENTINO MAURI­CIO / FOR AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN

Sur­rounded by friends and fam­ily, Paul Hal­tom (left) and his part­ner, Daniel Townsend, reaf­firm their de­vo­tion to each other at a com­mit­ment cer­e­mony Satur­day.

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