A disabled man who is well-known throughout Corner Brook was assaulted in his home last week, prompting people in the city to rally behind Gordon Milley in his recovery.
Milley was beaten in his home in the city's Townsite neighbourhood on June 23. The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary learned of the assault on June 25.
The details of the attack are not clear, but Milley is recovering in hospital.
"I hope he gets everything he needs," said Jess Solo, who has known Milley for about 20 years.
"He's put so many smiles on our faces as a community. So now I think it's our turn to make sure he's well taken care of."
Solo, who now lives in Calgary, said she always stops to buy him a coffee or say hello when she visits Corner Brook. She was shocked when she heard of the assault.
"I felt helpless because I am across the country. The first thing I wanted to do was help Gord," she told CBC News.
"I can't believe anyone would do that to him. It breaks my heart. Let alone anyone else but someone with a disability like that. It's devastating."
It's believed Milley, 56, suffered a stroke at a young age, leaving him with slurred speech and slowed mobility. Milley spends most days walking around the downtown area of Corner Brook, sipping coffee and waving at people as they drive by.
"He always has a smile on his face. You'll see that guy walking around town waving to cars and anyone he encounters," she said.
"He has a heart of gold, great positive outlook on life."
It's not clear how long it will take Milley to recover from his injuries. Community supporters started a Facebook fundraiser page with a goal of collecting $1,500 but donations have already exceeded $3,900.
"I think Gordie is going to need a lot of support after this," said Solo, adding that Milley will need supports.
"He is going to have a long recovery period during this time. He will have to adapt to that. So not only making sure he has the appropriate living situation [but also that] he's well fed and taken care of, as well as some entertainment of sorts," she said.
"I think that's why its so important as a community for us to raise money for him."
A local media company, Steady Entertainment, is collecting pictures and video-well wishes to compile and send to Milley while he recovers.
Person of interest in case
According to police, there is a person of interest associated with the brutal beating.
No arrests have yet been made.
The police are looking for anyone who may have witnessed the assault. Police have been investigating the incident since last week.
Meanwhile, RNC staff themselves have gotten to know Milley, and have been known to stop and buy him a coffee.