Fitness buff tries to lift her brother’s burden

Julie Beck, bottom right, sits with her brother Robert Beck, his wife Barbara and three of the couple's nine children.

What do you do when a family member stumbles on hard times?

That is a question that Julie Beck asks herself every day.

Julie worries about her brother Robert, who is facing some hard questions for someone who must only consider himself a  good family man.

Most people around Old Town Seal Beach know Julie Beck. She is usually described as a bubbly fountain of energy. She is the founder of Flexx Personal Training on Main Street in Seal Beach.

Beck says she loves the Seal Beach community. She’s done her share of community service, volunteering to warm people up for the Seal Beach 5K/10 run. She’s also a rock and roll lady and is known for singing with local bands and performing over the years at the free Chamber of Commerce summer concerts.

Most of Beck’s friends say they see her as a positive influence on the people around her. Her “can do” personality seems to say “you too can do this or whatever else you want to accomplish.”

However, lately she says she’s been feeling at the end of her tether, wondering how she can help her brother Robert. She is currently organizing a yard sale to that end. It will be held on Saturday, Aug. 21, at 600 Balboa Drive in Seal Beach (across from Pavilions grocery store).

It was Julie’s parents that brought her together with Robert Joseph Beck. That is to say they were both adopted.

Beck’s brother has been married for 20 years to his wife Barbara. They have nine children.

“The oldest is 20 and has various medical issues and the youngest is 5 years old,” Julie Beck said.

On June 30, of this year, his family was rendered homeless.

“How did this happen to my own brother I ask myself,” Beck said. “He’s a man who has worked every available day in his life to support and care for his family.”

Robert Beck has been employed as a Pick Up/Delivery and Line Driver for the company Fedex for the last 17 years.

He was offered a transfer from California where he had been living since 1983, to Arizona so the family bought their first home in a desolate area called Arizona City. Shortly after moving there, doctors discovered one of Robert’s heart valves was torn, requiring immediate open-heart surgery. Due to these physical challenges, the family lost their home.

They moved to Colorado, living in the basement of a family member. The accommodations were much like a quarantined environment. They tried to soldier on. But they were never able to get ahead.

Then in December of 2009, Robert suffered a stroke. Although it left no permanent physical damage, the Department of Transportation regulations said he would be unable to drive for a period of one year.

Then the family situation in Colorado deteriorated and the head of household kicked Robert, Barbara and his family outside one day to spend the cold night in the family van used for transportation.  “They nearly froze to death outside a Wal-Mart parking lot where Barbara was employed,” Julie Beck said. It has been a hard road. Now the family is waiting for December to arrive so Robert will be able to resume driving for Fedex. According to his sister he needs just enough to support the family, which is currently split in two.

Robert and Barbara are caring for the three youngest children in a hotel room in South El Monte. They pay $850 a month for a small room with a bathroom but no kitchen. Katherine who is 18 is staying in Casa Grande, AZ with a family friend and fellow church member. Connie (20), Aaron (15), Rachel (14), Shannon (8) and Veronica (7), are in Anaheim with Barbara’s brother Leon in a two bedroom apartment. Barbara goes each Friday to the “bread line” to obtain food: rice, beans and some frozen food products and drives to Anaheim to Leon’s to use the kitchen, cooking all the food for the family, storing in containers to bring some back to the hotel for the week.

Robert Beck plans to return to Colorado in December to work.

“Here in Seal Beach, with the help of some friends, we are proposing to offer a giant Yard Sale,” Julie Beck said.  “We will be holding it in order to raise enough money to ensure that Robert may return to work. They simply do not have the money they need right now and it’s hard for me to hope for them except realizing the generosity of others in this time of need.”

Julie Beck said if people are unable to make the sale and would like to help them with their day-to-day needs, donations may be made in any denomination in the form of Gift Cards that would be used to purchase food and basic hygiene/toiletries items.

There are four stores located near them, they are: Ralphs, Food 4 Less, and Fresh n’ Easy and Wal-Mart.

Also needed is any amount of pre-paid gasoline cards for the one time a week round trips to see the children and feed them in Anaheim. Clothing is not a concern as they have what they need for now, thank you.

“The financial goal is a relatively small one in the scheme of things,” Julie Beck said.

It will cost about $2,600 for Robert Beck to return to Colorado and get back to work. Any additional funds will be used directly to move all members of their family together into two hotel rooms side by side so the family can be together. “Additionally, funds will be used for specific/acute medical issues for the children as they have no medical insurance right now,” Julie Beck said. “This is my family, this is their situation, and they need help.”

To get involved please call (562) 458-4059.