Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2012, 10:59 pm

Good Fellow, Argus Santa turns nightmare before Christmas into sweet dreams for Milan family

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By Leon Lagerstam, llagerstam@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: John Greenwood
Julia Lappin and family of Milan will be getting new beds from The Dispatch Good Fellow and The Rock Island Argus Santa Fund so everyone in the 12-member family will have a bed to sleep in. The family includes, in front from left, Angie Long, Martez Crawford, Austin Lappin and Steven Lappin. In the middle row are Sammy Lappin, Ricky Abraham, James Lappin and Elizabeth Crawford. In the rear are Addarryll Crawford, Julia Lappin, John Lappin and Anthony Wilson.
MILAN -- The Dispatch Good Fellow and The Rock Island Argus Santa Fund turned a nightmare before Christmas into sweet holiday dreams for a Milan family.

Julia Lappin, 42, and Addarryl Crawford, 37, already had nine kids between them to make finding a place to sleep in their home difficult at best, according to Mary Huesmann, a nurse with School Health Link Inc., Silvis, who nominated this ''truest definition of a blended family'' for special holiday help through the newspapers' annual campaign.

'"The addition of two more people turned it into a nightmare,'' Ms. Huesmann said.

Those additions were the result of a nightmarish Oct. 1 semi-trailer truck accident in St. Louis that killed Ms. Lappin's mother. Ms. Lappin's 23-year-old adopted sister and 5-year-old adopted brother survived the crash.

''Without hesitation, Julia rented a car. As her car was needed at home, quickly drove to St. Louis and made arrangements to bring her sister and brother home with her to Milan, adding two more to the already large family,'' Ms. Huesmann wrote in the nomination forms. ''Without a concern of being able to financially provide for their growing family, the Crawford's main concern was to keep their family together.''

Finding enough places for the three girls and six boys, including a set of 9-year-old twins, to sleep, though, fast turned into a new concern for the kids ranging in age from 2 to 15, until The Dispatch Good Fellow and The Rock Island Argus Santa Fund arranged to get them two, twin-sized bunk beds, along with sheets, pillows and blankets.

'"That means everyone will get a bed,'' Ms. Lappin said. ''And I felt that was important so they all could get a good rest.''

Ms. Huesmann agreed.

''Healthy sleeping leads to success in school, good social relations, as well as good overall physical and mental health,'' she wrote.

Sleeping arrangements had included one of their kids sleeping on a couch, and four others sharing two twin beds, Ms. Huesmann said.

Knowing that made the family ''the first people I thought of when the nomination form came across my desk,'' Ms. Huesmann said. ''This is a wonderful, caring family that just wants to do right by their kids.''

Ms. Lappin said she was shocked to be nominated and selected.

''I didn't think we would get picked, and thought that there were plenty of other people out there needing help more than we did,'' she said. ''This is such a joy to us.''

The Dispatch Good Fellow and The Rock Island Argus Santa Fund ''is such a blessing to many families,'' Ms. Huesmann said. ''It provides wonderful opportunities to provide people with something others tend to take for granted.

''I have to admit, I actually teared up a little when I heard they had been selected,'' she said. ''This family hits such a soft spot in my heart.''

Ms. Lappin said she was honored Ms. Huesmann ''thought of us,'' and that there are programs such as The Good Fellow and The Rock Island Argus Santa Fund available to help families such as hers.

For 105 years, The Dispatch Good Fellow and The Rock Island Argus Santa Fund has helped make the holidays a little brighter for the less fortunate in the Illinois Quad-Cities area, but the holiday campaign needs your help.

This year's goal is $40,000. To date, $2,365 has been raised, leaving $37,635 to go.

Donations from area residents, businesses and civic groups are sought to help provide holiday gift cards for families to buy food, clothing and other necessities, as well as toys for children who might otherwise get nothing for Christmas.

There are four easy ways to donate:
-- Make a secure donation online at QCOnline.com/goodfellow.
-- Send a check to Good Fellow, c/o Dispatch/Argus, 1720 5th Ave., Moline, IL 61265.
-- Use the drop box in the Dispatch/Argus lobby, 1720 5th Ave, Moline.
-- Use the drive-through window at the circulation office at the corner of 6th Avenue and 18th Street in downtown Moline.

In addition to selecting families for special holiday help, the newspapers will rely on 12 area agencies to help identify people most in need and assist with distributing the gift certificates.

The agencies are Aldridge Early Learning Center, Bethany for Children & Families, Child Abuse Council, Boys & Girls Club of the Mississippi Valley, Just Kids Early Care & Education, Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, Project NOW, Skip-a-Long Child Development, InTouch Adult Day Services, Rock Island County Senior Center, Illinois Division of Rehabilitation and ARC of the Quad-Cities Area.

Donations are only used for special holiday assistance, and not for everyday agency programs.

The newspapers' promotion department coordinates the program. Administrative costs are paid by The Moline Dispatch Publishing Co.

The Argus Santa Holiday Fund was established in 1908, followed by the Dispatch Good Fellow in 1912. The programs merged in 1987 when The Dispatch bought The Rock Island Argus. The fund is recognized as a 501 (c) (3) charitable corporation by the IRS.

Contributors' names are published in weekly updates in The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus. Recent contributors are:











Recent contributors are:

Edith Hans King Daughters Circle, $100
In memory of Thelma Kaye Kahley, $50
Kay's Memorial, $25
Michael and Debra Alvarado, $50
Churchmen of the First Lutheran Church, $150
Timothy Dewaele, $100
Clara Lodge No. 118 I.O.V., $100
Anonymous, $100
In memory of my fishing buddy, John Galle, from Randy Burton, $25
Allouez Council 658 Knights of Columbus, $100
Anonymous, $500
In memory of Bob Monson and The Mitchells, $40
James Maxson, $100
Thomas and Pauline Malchodi, $25
Jeraldine Clewell, $10
Shirley and Charles Luebke, $100
Marvin Schiess, $25
Marie Lamb, $20
Zal Caldron No 4 D.O.M., $100
In memory of Sylvester Albracht from NJ and PJ Fischer. $50
David and Linda Markward, $200
In memory of Jim Cordell, from his wife and daughters, $25
In memory of Frank and Wanda, from Rose Hicks, $50
Dallas Baker, $100
M. Sylvia Park, $25
John Decker, $25
Alice Kennedy Circle of Kings Daughters, $100
Anonymous, $20
Anonymous, $50