A person’s life can change in an instant, and sometimes it is necessary as a caring community to rally together and help that person deal with the change that has been forced upon them. The following is the story of Jim Alden, a warm hearted, talented and funny man who has the magic of making people laugh.
Early in the morning on November 22nd, Jim returned to his Philadelphia home after spending the weekend in New York enjoying an annual visit with friends from California. He had received a large manila envelope, addressed to him and carefully designed to look just like the envelopes in which he receives asthma medication on a regular basis. But it was not his asthma medication. It was rigged with a bomb, designed to explode and seriously injure him. Jim opened this package, triggering the bomb that exploded in his hands causing injury to his face, chest and hands. Jim is a longtime Philadelphia resident and was known to many in the local hospitality, theatre and LGBT communities. He was open about his orientation and political views. This was a highly personal attack and is being investigated as a possible hate crime. Jim's partner was home at the time of the explosion, but was not injured.
Jim had pieces of shrapnel removed from his chest, arms and face with the greatest damage to his left hand. Had he not removed his contact lenses and put on his glasses prior to opening the package, he would have likely been blinded by the explosion. Jim, who is left handed, has lost parts of two fingers on his left hand and underwent surgery that hand, including the installation of several rods in his hand to stabilize multiple broken bones. Jim will need to undergo more surgeries on his hand to deal with the damage.
Jim Alden (formerly known as Jim Fay) was born and raised in Modesto, California. His parents still live in Modesto. He attended Thomas Downey High School, Modesto Junior College and California State University, San Francisco. A talented singer, Jim was active in music and theater, and developed a large circle of friends with whom he remains close.
After appearing in the San Francisco cast of the off-broadway hit “Forbidden Broadway”, Jim moved to New York to pursue a career in theatre. He relocated to Philadelphia in the early 1990s to appear in a production of "Forbidden Broadway" and there he remained, continuing to perform in local theatre and cabaret productions.
Since the mid-1990s, Jim has worked at the historic Warwick Rittenhouse Hotel, where he was a restaurant manager and is currently in the banquet department.
While he has health insurance, Jim faces large medical copays, and ongoing medical treatments, physical therapy, and costly future reconstructive and plastic surgeries. He and his partner are also facing costs for cleanup and repairs to their apartment. Unlike his home state of California, Pennsylvania does not have a state disability insurance program, so Jim will suffer significant loss of income during his extended recovery time.
As long time friends of Jim’s we are asking for your help as we all come together to support Jim through this time and bring him some peace of mind so that he can concentrate on the long journey ahead of him as he heals.
Here is a link to the USA Today’s story about the incident: http://www.usatoday.com/videos/news/nation/2016/11/22/police:-package-bomb-targeted-philadelphia-man/94305062/
We appreciate and thank you for any help you can give. Please watch for updates on Jim’s Journey!
May we all find the strength to be the peace in this world.