My name is Justin Eggert, I am the husband of Dani and son-in-law to Rory and Deb. This is an open letter to anyone and everyone that truly cares and has a deep respect for Rory and his wellbeing.
Dear Friends and Family,
I am writing this letter in response to the gossip that is continuing and on going about Rory, his family, and this terribly unfortunate situation. There is much misinformation being strewn about in private, on social media, and in our community. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, but a line has to be drawn when those opinions are based on assumptions, false conclusions, speculation, and outright fiction. The end result being reciprocated gossip that has been in my opinion disgusting and outright slanderous.
My wife Dani and her mother Deb have been the target of judgment, false accusations, and a lot of hurtful language. They have been accused of fraud and even using charitable donations to purchase cars. Rory's daughter has been called ‘inhumane’, ‘pond scum’, ‘horrible’, and ‘hateful’. Jeff Nilsen, Rory’s brother-in-law, went as far as recently commenting on Facebook, “He [Rory] would be so so disappointed in his daughter’s behavior”. Frankly this is such a disservice to Rory. All of this negative energy that could have been and can be refocused in love and support of Rory. Feelings have been hurt because of choices that Rory has made. Those were Rory's choices, not Dani's or Deb’s. Everyone has seemed to forget this. If you care and respect Rory then you should live with his choices.
Dani and Deb have visited and taken care of Rory almost every day that he has been hospitalized. This has been out the deepest love and nothing more. If you could see, as I have, the love they share for Rory and the sacrifices that they make daily for him, you would share in my disgust for the things that have been said and done.
It has been incorrectly stated that Deb applied to be Rory’s guardian. Deb never applied to be guardian nor did she want to be guardian. I think it is more than just a little silly that the “Respondent” chose to use her court declaration as a platform to claim as such and then continue to state her own dislike for Deb.
Dani applied for guardianship in and of her own volition. She loves her father like only a daughter can, and would do anything for him, just as he always did for her. She has nothing but his best interest in mind – always.
Rory’s parents petitioned against Dani for guardianship. Dani was taken to court and contested by her own grandparents, that she was not fit to take care of her father (In Washington state the natural order of informed consent goes to the eldest child before the parents. See RCW 7.70.065). The day of the decision for guardianship, Rory’s parents withdrew their petition. In the “Respondents” declaration on September 19, 2013, she stated Dani was not fit to be guardian because she wanted “someone who knows him [Rory] well”. However, when Rory’s parents withdrew and Dani was to be awarded guardianship of Rory, the “Respondent” asked that a non-family member professional guardian be appointed instead.
It has also been stated that because Rory’s parents contested Dani for guardian, that they have been denied visitation of my children and Blake’s children. This is absolutely false. They have had many opportunities and invitations to visit and have never accepted.
Divorce and Court
Rory the “Petitioner” made a decision to file for divorce from the “Respondent” prior to his illness.
Being the legal guardian of her father, one of Dani’s responsibilities was to represent her father in the divorce proceedings.
No one on Rory’s side took anyone to court or prolonged the process in any way. In fact it has been the absolute opposite. Dani wanted the divorce to be finalized as quickly as possible for several reasons, least of which had anything to do with money, assets, or life insurance.
Dani’s number one priority is and always has been the care and treatment of her father. In order to get Rory to a better and adequate treatment facility he has to be removed from the “Respondents” insurance (“Aetna”). However, Rory could not be removed without a qualifying life event (i.e. a divorce).
The divorce proceedings were delayed and prolonged mainly due to the fact that the “Respondent” wanted to contest the fact that Rory’s life insurance policy, in the amount of $500,000, was not an asset. By law, it is not (See RCW 11.07.010 and Estep vs. Hamilton case at 148 Wn.App. 246, 2008), in plain language it reads that the spouse is automatically revoked as the beneficiary when the Decree of Dissolution is finalized. The “Respondent” claimed Rory and herself had community debt in the amount of approximately $80,000 payable to friends and family, but did not have any signed agreements or paperwork. She claimed she needed the life insurance to pay off the community debt. This was her ‘initial’ reason for contesting the divorce.
However, the “Respondent” was given a promissory note in January of 2014 for the full amount of the approximate $80,000 debts. In the unfortunate event of Rory’s passing, the promissory note would be executed and the full amount would be paid directly to the “Respondent”. She rejected the promissory note.
The “Respondent” continually extended the process by contesting that the life insurance policy be considered an asset.
The divorce was finalized May, 02, 2014. The court chose to follow the statute and case law and awarded Rory his own life insurance policy and also awarded him the approximate $80,000 in debts.
Per court records, the “Respondent” intends to appeal the decision.
Rory made six phone calls to Farmers Insurance, according to phone records, in the attempt to change the beneficiary on his own life insurance policy. Farmers Insurance told him that you cannot change the beneficiary’s in Washington State without a Decree of Dissolution or both parties (Account holder and Spouse) agree to the changes. This is the only reason the beneficiary was not changed prior to Rory falling ill.
The “Respondent” continually argued for the life insurance policy to be considered as an asset, as if Rory was deceased. Dani argued that this was premature since her father is alive and even showing improvement. The Judge responded to the matter of the life insurance as such (per court transcript):
“The husband’s side argued that it was not an asset, and it was premature to discuss dividing it since the husband is still living… The case troubled me in researching it, and first and foremost, I think it is premature.”
Team Rory was an idea started in early August by Kevin Dahl. He called me and asked if I was able to setup a website so we could accept donations on Rory’s behalf. I purchased the domain name and website hosting immediately (I currently am still the owner and am responsible for it financially). I quickly called Newlife church to see if they would be willing to accept donations on Rory’s behalf. Newlife gladly accepted and has collected all donations since the website’s inception.
The initial idea was to raise funds by selling bracelets in order to pay for medical transportation for getting Rory back to Washington (approximately $17,000). We thought it important for Rory to be close to friends and family. Rory’s story quickly spread to the media and we were blessed to have a medical flight transport donated because of this.
Since we were unsure of health insurance coverage (or the quality of benefits), we changed the messaging on the website to include medical expenses. Once the benefits and coverage were deemed adequate we removed the ability to donate. Approximately 50% of the funds donated have been used to date towards out of pocket medical expenses.
No one involved with TeamRory.org has had access to any charitable donations. Newlife is and has been in sole control of the funds.
Rory’s awesome friends in California ran some fundraisers of their own and created ‘Team Rory’ hats and ‘Wake Up Rory’ t-shirts. Unbeknownst to Dani and I, two boxes of shirts and hats arrived on our doorstep to use and help raise money.
We chose to sell the hats and shirts on TeamRory.org to help pay for babysitting while Dani visited her father. We have raised $98.00 to date selling shirts and hats.
Per court documents, the “Respondent” inquired about the donations made through TeamRory.org and collected by Newlife, a non-profit organization, be counted as Rory’s income and also inquired about the funds collected for selling of shirts and hats to be included as Rory’s assets in the divorce. Furthermore, Rory’s personal funds have come into question, and it should be noted that a ‘spend down’ had to occur in order to qualify for Medicaid and that medical bills were paid from his bank account. All his personal funds had to be accounted for and have been accounted for.
In September of 2013, Brad Turner, a friend of Rory’s put on a spaghetti feed fundraiser at a local bar in Bremerton. The fundraiser was to raise money to pay for Blake’s, Rory’s son, travel expenses from his home state in Arizona and for babysitting expenses for Dani’s daily visits to see her father.
We were informed by the local bar, that “Family members” called and wanted to have the event cancelled. They even went as far as to call the band and convinced them to cancel. Fortunately, the local bar allowed the event to go on and we raised over $3,000. Because of the fundraiser, Blake has been able to fly home several times and visit his father.
Blake Almost Gets Arrested
In May, 2013, after Rory first moved out of state to Arizona, he asked Blake to drive over to his former residence and recover his bike, fishing gear, snowboard, shoes, and various miscellaneous items from the garage. The “Respondent” called the Sheriff. The Sheriff and the “Respondent” showed up at Blake’s residence to recover the belongings. The “Respondent” asked that Blake be arrested for trespassing and theft. Blake was not arrested, but was forced to return his fathers belongings the next day.
Access and Visitation
The “Respondent”, friends, or family have never been denied access to Rory’s care facilities or denied visitation. The sad truth is that only Rory’s two younger sisters of three have ever visited him. And now only the youngest occasionally visits with Rory’s parents.
The “Respondent” has only visited Rory twice, the most recent being early September of 2013.
Rory’s relationship with his older sister and brother-in-law has been estranged since March of 2013 and they have not visited him.
I hope this clears up any confusion and will put the gossip to rest. At the end of the day the absolute most important thing is Rory and his recovery. That is all. No one should be worried about anything other than that. To do so is to take away from the love, energy, and focus that should be, needs to be, directed towards him. In my opinion Rory would be damn proud of both Dani and Deb for all the love and support they continue to give and the persecution they have endured on his behalf. I have seen and continue to see it in his eyes when we visit. There is no way there is even an inkling of disappointment and Rory is lucky to have been blessed with such an amazing daughter.