Tony Coty (left), with his dog Bella, receives a gift basket from Penelope Protheroe in Granite Falls on Dec. 17. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Tony Coty (left), with his dog Bella, receives a gift basket from Penelope Protheroe in Granite Falls on Dec. 17. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

In face of hardship, 3 men give thanks for trailer park home

Tony Coty, Dan Hagar and Charles Moody make ends meet with help from Angel Resource Connection.

GRANITE FALLS — Tony Coty used to hold a sign saying “need work” outside of the Rite Aid.

He spent many nights sleeping on sidewalks with his 104-pound companion, Bella, a husky with traces of red wolf.

But this Christmas Eve, for the first time in years, he didn’t have to worry about where they would keep warm after sunset.

In April, a local nonprofit called Angel Resource Connection helped the pair find a donated travel trailer and pay for a permitted space to put it, a lot off West Stanley Street.

Now, Coty has a few jobs doing landscaping and yard work. And Bella has an entire couch for a bed of her own.

“It’s definitely given me a better frame of mind,” said Coty, 61, standing outside of the Coachmen travel trailer with Bella. “It’s made my life a lot easier to try to get back on track.”

Angel Resource Connection has since purchased two other trailers for his neighbors, Dan Hagar and Charles Moody, who couldn’t afford to replace their ramshackle old abodes.

In the gravel lot, behind the Go Mart & Smoke shop, the three men in their three trailers are doing what most people are trying to do: just get by.

And — they’re the first to admit — they’ve had some amazing help.

Penelope Protheroe, who runs Angel Resource Connection, has kept in touch.

Protheroe and volunteers fill their propane tanks, do their laundry and bring them groceries.

She even pet-sits and visits the vet with Bella, as well as Hagar’s Mexican Chihuahua, Little Bit, and Moody’s two black-and-white cats, Woody and Midnight. The organization visits the row of trailers every Wednesday to serve a hot meal to whoever is hungry.

Trailer parks get a bad rap, Protheroe said.

“As soon as you pitch in and you help out, it changes your heart. It changes your outlook,” Protheroe said. “These are just kindhearted people having a hard time.”

Moody and Hagar both have disabilities that make walking difficult.

Angel Resource Connection helped them apply for permanent subsidized housing, but the wait for openings can be five to eight years, Protheroe said.

Once the men pay the roughly $600 monthly rent for their trailer spaces, they have less than $200 a month to live on, she said.

A tiny community has blossomed in the lot, home to six other trailers and their residents.

“We all look out for each other,” said Hagar, 53, at the doorway of his trailer, a Keystone Hideout.

Their most recent mission has been looking for a lost dog of one of the residents, who runs a thrift store in the same building as the smoke shop, Protheroe said. The dog, a brindle-colored mix named Sunday, ran off when the building caught fire on Monday. The owner is at a Seattle hospital being treated for burns, Protheroe said.

Before Hagar met Protheroe, he lived in a trailer that was rotting, with black mold and broken appliances. She convinced the nonprofit’s board of directors to replace it for about $9,500.

Hagar used to work as a bouncer at a local bar. But in recent years, he hasn’t been able to work as the symptoms of his Type II diabetes have worsened.

Angel Resource Connection also purchased him an electric scooter, so now he can run errands and grocery shop on his own, even though he doesn’t have a car.

“I was on my own until I met Penelope. She saved me,” said Hagar. “She saved everybody here. She’s been a real blessing.”

During a recent visit to the lot, she delivered each of them Poinsettia plants and holiday gift baskets, filled with snacks, fresh fruit and treats for their animals.

Bella got a gourmet dog biscuit, iced to resemble a snow man. She nibbled then tried to bury it, nudging it into the gravel with her pink nose.

“Everybody loves my dog. They say they love me, but it’s my dog,” Coty said. “She’s got quite the following.”

Protheroe first met Coty at a clothing giveaway at the local library. When he learned of an open spot at the small trailer park, the nonprofit helped him pay to reserve it. Protheroe posted online seeking a trailer for him. Within an hour, someone had donated the trailer, and someone else had volunteered to help move it. Coty moved in three days later, in April.

He started working the next day, Protheroe said.

Moody, 64, is especially thankful for Protheroe’s cheeseburgers — made with Beyond-brand vegetarian patties and a dab of mustard.

They’re like Popeye’s spinach, said Moody, who doesn’t usually have an appetite.

He has three fractured ribs now and has broken his back twice in the past. So Protheroe is always trying to entice him with something delicious.

He’s lived in the trailer park for three years. His old trailer was barely livable, ant-infested and without heat and hot water, he said.

Now, his new trailer, a Nash, is pest-free. Inside are a few festive silver and blue ball ornaments duct-taped to the ceiling, some tinsel around the microwave and a miniature Christmas tree in the shelving above his miniature dining room.

“It’s perfect,” said Moody. “I don’t need anything else.”

Rachel Riley: 425-339-3465; Twitter: @rachel_m_riley.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Arlington woman dies in crash on Highway 530

The Washington State Patrol says a Stanwood man ran a red light, striking Zoey Ensey as she turned onto the highway.

FILE - This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, obtained from a sample of human skin associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. A leading doctor who chairs a World Health Organization expert group described the unprecedented outbreak of the rare disease monkeypox in developed countries as "a random event" that might be explained by risky sexual behavior at two recent mass events in Europe. (Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP, File)
Monkeypox case count rises to 6 in Snohomish County

Meanwhile, cases in the state have roughly doubled every week. Most of those have been in neighboring King County.

Farmer Frog employees sort through a pallet of lettuce at their new location on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
At Farmer Frog’s new pad, nonprofit helps feed 1.5M Washingtonians

The emergency food distribution network began amid the pandemic. Demand was high — so high, the truck volume led them to move.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Snohomish County, cities announce $9.6M for mental health, shelter

Projects span from Edmonds to Sultan. Each city is using American Rescue Plan Act money, with the county contributing, too.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Suspect in custody after man’s gunshot death, standoff

Deputies responded to a domestic violence call and found the suspect barricaded on the property near Snohomish.

A view of the proposed alternative station location to Everett Station located east of the current BNSF rail tracks in downtown. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Could light rail station under Pacific Avenue and over railroad work?

A group representing people around Everett Station wants Sound Transit to study the idea.

Jon Elmgren, president of the Everett Rock Club, talks with two club members while out searching for olivine and other minerals on Saturday, July 22, 2022, along the Nooksack River near Deming, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett rockhounds dig in for shiny, rare, ‘ugly as sin’ treasure

This club has been around for 83 years. They’ll tell you what rocks their world — and how to identify “leaverite.”

State Representative Robert Sutherland, left, gives a thumbs-up to passing drivers as he and a few volunteers wave flags and campaign signs along the side of State Route 9 on July 22, in Lake Stevens. Sam Low, right, talks with seniors on July 20 in Lake Stevens. (Sutherland photo by Ryan Berry / The Herald, Low photo by Kevin Clark / The Herald)
In GOP battle of Sutherland vs. Low, Democrats may tip the scale

The state lawmaker and Snohomish County council member are vying for a House seat. Democrats make up roughly 40% of the vote.

Two students walk along a path through campus Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, at Everett Community College in Everett, Washington. The college’s youth-reengagement program has lost its funding, and around 150 students are now without the money they need to attend classes. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Monroe nixes college program, leaving 150-plus students in the lurch

For years, the Monroe School District footed the bill for “U3” students, who have gotten mixed messages about why that’s ending.

Most Read