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A Local Hero at Helping Hands

May 31, 2016 started off as a typical day for Darrin Parker and James Kozik, employees of Helping Hands Community Thrift Store & Furniture Bank in Orange, as they went to a local house to pick up donations. The homeowner asked Darrin to do her a favor and throw a table with a glass top into a dumpster that was on her property. As Darrin lifted the table to throw it into the dumpster, the glass top came crashing down onto his head and shattered with a shard cutting straight into the crook of his right arm. James was loading items into the truck at the time, heard the crash and then Darrin screaming to call 911.

As James called 911 and got to Darrin, he saw how much blood Darrin was losing. His military training instantly kicked in and he immediately applied pressure to the wound while helping Darrin walk towards the steps to sit down as they waited for the paramedics to arrive. As they were approaching the steps, Darrin collapsed. James asked the owner for three plastic bags to tie the wound off, and elevated his knees to increase blood flow to the heart. The paramedics soon arrived and James explained the situation, telling them the glass had pierced an artery in Darrin’s arm. After two surgical procedures, thankfully Darrin is expected to make a full recovery. If James wasn’t there that day, there’s a good chance that Darrin would no longer be with us. We are proud to call James Kozik a Helping Hands Hero.

James is a Connecticut resident who served for three years in the United States Air Force, where he was stationed in Hurlburt Field, Florida. When he was honorably discharged from the Air Force, he had difficulty finding work and found himself homeless. Through the VA, James found Columbus House, a non-profit organization that for the past 33 years has been serving over 3,000 individuals annually who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Columbus House offers a broad array of programs and services for adults, families with children, and Veterans who are experiencing homelessness, including shelter, housing, employment, and case management services. The organization provided James with an apartment with other homeless Veterans at Harkness House, a program owned and operated by Columbus House that houses up to 14 Veterans. The ultimate goal is to help secure income and a permanent place to call home. Columbus House was able to help James get a job by finding him employment at Helping Hands.

Helping Hands supports and raises funds for over 150 non-profit organizations through its Thrift Store and provides furniture essentials through its Furniture Bank to the clients of their social service members. To arrange for a donation pick-up, please contact Helping Hands at 203-782-4800 and for questions about Helping Hands, please contact Steve Greenberg at 203-387-2266 (

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