“I’ve no idea how I’m going to start paying them,” he said despondently.
“I’ve no income and won’t for a long time,”
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Friends and relations of Caldwell are running a big benefit for him in the Heritage Bar and Restaurant in Yonkers on Sunday December 4. The fundraiser will kick off at 3pm and is expected to run late into the night. Boston’s Erin Og will perform. There will be live auctions on the night. Superb prizes have already been donated from local businesses and friends including a signed Chelsea and Celtic jersey, a signed 2011 Dublin football jersey, a round of golf with drinks and dinner, a night out in a bar for six people and many more.
“We hope the Irish community will come out and help Paul. If you knew Paul you would know that no one would wish him any harm and for this awful vicious thing to happen to him is unthinkable. We want to see Paul make a full recovery and get back to the great life he has here in New York,” said Rice.
Caldwell is bound to his apartment on days that the sun shines outside because the pain he sufferers is unbearable from the bright light. He can’t work and can only listen to the television.
“It’s sheer boredom alright, I can’t text or use a computer and I’m here alone most of the day so it’s hard but I’m trying to stay positive and hope I can get back to some sort of normal life soon enough,” he said.
When Paul does venture outside it’s frustrating for him because he can’t see anyone.
“People shout at me from across the road and I can’t see who they are. It’s embarrassing you know,” he said.
“It’s not a nice way to be.”
Brick layering is the only profession the Co. Down man knows but working in that field again is not likely.
“Doctors told me my eyes will always be sensitive to infection and astigmatism so any dust at all can affect them so working in construction is out of the question,” Caldwell said.
“I guess I’ll have to find something else to do but it won’t be easy.”
Caldwell hopes his attacker will be caught soon and won’t strike again.
“I would like if anyone has any information on the night to contact my cousin Niall (email address below) to help put my attacker behind bars,” he said.
Executive Director of the Aisling Irish Community Center in Yonkers, Orla Kelleher, told the Irish Voice that Caldwell's case isn’t unique.
“We have seen many cases over the years and more so recently of people being savagely attacked on their way home from a night out,” she said.
“They (attackers) seem to prey on the vulnerable at that time of the night. It could be they are looking for money for drugs or alcohol.”
Kelleher advises people to always get a taxi no matter the distance to their homes.
“We keep advising men and women to spend the few dollars on a taxi for their safety. It’s a must at this stage.”
“I can’t stress enough the importance of never walking home alone at night. Look what happened to me and what I’ve ahead of me in terms of recovery. I don’t want this to happen to anyone again and remember my attacker is still out there so please be careful and get a taxi to your doorstep,” he said.
Charlie Maguire, a Co. Galway immigrant living in Yonkers, told the Irish Voice he will never go home on foot again.
"After hearing about Paul I will never walk home alone again. It's not worth the risk. I've heard there has been two more beatings in the area since Paul's attack so it's something we all need to be vigilant about," said Maguire.
Paul would like to thank all the staff at St. Barnabas and Bronx-Lebanon hospital, especially the nurses, his girlfriend, cousins and friends who have rallied around to support him, Sr. Christine and the staff at the Aisling Irish Community Center and the staff at the Emerald Isle Immigration Center for their help and support in this troubling and difficult time.
To contact a member of the committee call Mary Fay on 914 258 5833 or Niall Rice 914 557 4055. Niall can also be reached on- firstname.lastname@example.org