266 days. That is how long it has been since Illinois has gone without a budget. And the stories about the people it affects and how it impacts them are endless.
Cerone Brower from Chicago lives with cerebral palsy. He’s non verbal, immobile and can do nothing for himself at the age of 33. His mother fears if the state of Illinois doesn’t act soon to free up much needed money, her son could end up in a home living away from her.
Currently, thanks to one compassionate man, The Browers are able to stick together. But that man is paying the price.
Darrell Stanford says Cerone is a “little brother” he’s grown to love. The two spend a lot of time together. Three times a day, seven days a week, Stanford comes to the Browers Chatham home to feed Cerone, change him, bathe him, carry him up and down the stairs so Cerone’s mother Eller, doesn’t have to. She is 75-years-old and 5’2″. Without Darrell’s physical help, she would be forced to care for her physically and mentally handicapped son herself.
As a home care aide, Darrell is paid by the state’s Department of Human Services. At least that was the plan. For weeks, he has been working for free. The checks stopped coming, but the needs at the Brower’s continued.
It’s been rough for all of them.
“I haven’t been getting paid so sometimes, I don”t have gas or bus fair,” Darrell says. “So it’s difficult.”
Darrell makes $10 an hour. But he couldn’t leave the Browers out in the cold. So dependable and devoted Darrell came to work every day anyway out of the goodness of his heart.
“I don’t make much, but the little I do make doesn’t go that far. So for nothing to be coming in, it makes it a lot worse. A lot worse,” he says.
Darrel even emailed the governor himself in search of answers. He got a form letter back instead.
So WGN News phoned Marsol Enterprises in Olympia Fields, to inquire about the delay with three paychecks. Marsol is the company that issues Darrel’s check . They did not returned our calls.
Then, out of nowhere, one check showed up last week. And a sign showed up on the company’s door suggesting backlogs in the pay department were finally freeing up this Friday.
But how? Why? When the status in Springfield is the same?
Eller Brower says she is breathing more easily knowing that Darrell and his helping hands are being paid for his hard work. At least it appears that way.
This as the financial indecision downstate remains unresolved. The fear in the Brower’s house continues of having to send Cerone to a home away from his mother if someone like Darrell isn’t there to help.
“Hopefully they will see the need not only of Cerone, but of others,” Eller Brower says.