Old friends band together to help former classmate who's fallen on hard times

December 13, 2018 05:03 PM

When young Josh Cuzdey reached out to 62-year-old Keith Oakes during a snowstorm and offered to help him get home, it touched the hearts of people all around the Capital Region. That includes Jon Maskin of Delmar, who couldn't believe his eyes.

Maskin was an old classmate of Oakes. They graduated from Bethlehem in 1974. The last time anyone remembers seeing or hearing from Oakes was 1981.

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Oakes' adult years had taken him cross-country, living in Nebraska and California. Some bad choices with smoking, alcohol -- and bad luck, led to serious health issues, which wound up costing him his right leg.

Oakes had been diagnosed with stomach cancer -- and was staying in motels - or the City Mission.

Maskin spoke with their old high school crew and they decided to help turn things around for Oakes.

Because of the story, they managed to track Oakes down, took him to breakfast, and explained their plan. They started a GoFundMe page that three old friends will manage -- all in the interest of getting their friend to a better place.

Their original goal of $10,000 was met in a matter of days. However, Maskin is hopeful they can reach $25,000 -- which would help get Oakes a better place, an electric wheelchair -- and supplement his health care.

For Oakes, it's truly a gift -- and not just the kind money can buy. Old pals, giving their support -- and their friendship.



Jerry Gretzinger & WNYT Staff

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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