Outside Looking In
What a difference a year makes. Especially if you consider where Casey McCoy was at this time a year ago.
McCoy, a Minneota native, was trapped in Togo, West Africa at this time last year. Instead of being home with his family for Christmas, he was being quarantined in an unsanitary building with armed guards.
McCoy and his girlfriend, Lacie Packard, flew to Togo to attend a friend's wedding. As they boarded the plane to return to the United States, McCoy was told he had a positive COVID test, even though he was not allowed to see the test results, and was placed in quarantine.
Through a tangled web of deceit, lies and even a form of extortion for Togo officials, McCoy continued to be held well past the quarantine period. He took additional COVID tests, told he still tested positive, but was not allowed to see the results unless he paid money.
Packard had returned to the states to attend to matters back home while McCoy awaited a negative test result so he could join her back home.
From Dec. 23 until Jan. 19 McCoy remained in Togo. He was incessantly asked for money during his quarantine by guards and other officials and eventually was arrested and charged with lying about his initial COVID test result so he could return home.
Facing a large fine and possible imprisonment, McCoy hired an attorney and went before a consulate on charges of fraud.
With the help of the U.S. Embassy and his attorney, McCoy pleaded his case and was eventually allowed to return home after paying a fine.
Over the past year, McCoy's life has been 100 times better. He and Packard gave birth to a new baby boy, Radley J McCoy, on Nov. 3, they purchased a popular restaurant/bowling alley that has been prospering, and they get to spend Christmas together.
Of course, the bad weather hampered their travel plans for the holidays. But that is nothing compared to what he was enduring a year ago.
After having a chance to see the downside of life last year, McCoy has been trying to show how thankful he is to be living in the United States by giving back to those in need.
McCoy went to culinary school in New York after graduating from high school in Minneota in 2004. After assisting in opening several restaurant businesses in the United States, his career went down a different path and he began selling insurance for several years. But his chef skills are back on display again now that he purchased his restaurant/bowling alley business establishment called "Pinz".
As a way of helping others during the recent snowstorm in South Dakota, "Pinz" gave away ham and cheese sandwiches, clementines and veggie straws to children that might need a meal with schools closed there.
McCoy's post on Facebook read: "As a family-owned business, we understand what a snow day can do to our kids and parents, let alone a snow week. A lot of kids depend on and look forward to their school lunches. With school being cancelled, it puts a damper on many things for families but getting lunch should never be one of them. So, today if you are a hungry kid, a worn-out parent, or just find yourself in a tough position, stop on down to Pinz. We have some ham/cheese sandwiches, clementines and veggies straws bagged up by our back door. Take what you need! We will do our best to keep it full."
The story was picked up by their local media. Numerous people were so impressed that they donated money to Pinz.
Instead of pocketing the money donated to his business, McCoy has decided to give out free kids' meals on Dec. 28 with the additional money.
Christmas is the season of giving and McCoy and Packard have been playing Santa and Mrs. Claus this year.
New Year Fun Facts
Only around 40 percent of the people make a New Year’s resolution.
January is named after a god with two faces, Janus.
About 22 percent of Americans fall asleep before the clock strikes midnight.
The New Year’s kiss has been around since the Middle Ages.
The New Year's ball drop is over 100 years old.
Southerners eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day for good luck.
Celebrating the New Year dates back 4,000 years.
There is a music festival every New Year’s eve in the Antarctic called ‘Icestock’.
Mexicans celebrate New Year’s Eve, by eating a grape.
Happy New Year!
As we say goodbye to 2022, the Mascot staff wishes everyone a safe and Happy New Year!