Patrick Henry Polk III and his brood had been waiting six weeks for their welfare check. It was the worst winter anyone could remember. Henry Polk was 49, destitute, and disabled by a bad heart. He was a rock mason and cedar chopper by trade, though Henry acknowledged that he hadn’t “hit a lick at a snake” in months. Piece by piece, he had sold his chain saw, then his tools, and finally his furniture to feed his wife and seven children.