St. Vincent de Paul helps El Sobrante family after a crushing series of events

(Photo: Dylan Bouscher/Bay Area News Group)

The sound of trickling water as dozens of goldfish glide around an aquarium in the living room creates a soothing ambience, a stark contrast to the nearly four years of physical and emotional turmoil Rich Parker and his family have endured.

The first of several crushing blows came two days after Christmas in 2017, when faulty wiring caused a fire that permanently ousted the Parkers from the Richmond home where they had lived for 24 years.

Then in September 2019, their 16-year-old daughter became collateral damage in a gang-related shooting after a Friday night high school football game she attended with a group of friends. Three teens were struck, but Ashley was by far the worst off: The bullet that lodged near her spine left doctors fearing brain damage from loss of oxygen as they worked to keep her alive.

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