If you know, Charlie Santangelo, then you probably have at least a dozen funny stories about the retired firefighter and Dorchester native. His personality matches his iconic mustache, larger than life.
Charlie, 67, worked with my husband Peter for years at the legendary “Broadway” firehouse in the South End – home of Ladder 17 and Engine 7. The first time I met Charlie, he was warm, genuine and immediately made me laugh. He’s one of those guys you love to be around. It’s always a good time.
Several years ago, Charlie – a Vietnam vet – was diagnosed with Hypolakemia, a progressive disease that weakens the muscles. There is no cure for it. With the progression of the disease, he now needs wheelchair to get around. Charlie wants to maintain his independence and was lucky enough – thanks to the help of the V.A.(Veterans Administration) – to get a license as a hands-only driver to operate a hands-only vehicle. Now he needs a custom-fitted, handicap-accessible van made to fit Charlie’s exact height, weight and needs. Costs for that type of van could run up to $100,000.
Earlier this year a GoFundMe page was created and over $27,000 has been raised so far. You can help Charlie out by making a donation here.
A fundraiser will be held on Friday, June 14th at 7 p.m. at Florian Hall. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at the door. There will be a DJ, live auctions, raffles and more.
The fundraiser is on Father’s Day weekend which is appropriate because Charlie is the proud father of 5 children and grandfather of 11 grandchildren. He has been married to his wife Betty for over 50 years.
So come on out and help support an amazing guy and his family during this time of need!