Publisher's Note: The following article is
a rewrite of a newspaper article Steven read in his
local paper. The story originated with the Duluth
News Tribune, written by Chuck Frederick, it is a
Zachary Woods wants to go fishing with his Grandpa;
this would be a special event in Zachary's life.
Zachary is 10 years old with Spina bifida, and has
been confined to a wheel chair since he was a
toddler. Because of Zachary's condition, and
the family just building a house, a pontoon boat
is not in the family budget.
Dorlyn Desen lives across the street and would watch
as Zachary's dad lift him into and out of the family
car, wondering how much longer before the father's
back would give out. One day the neighbor saw Zachary's
father, Terry, raking the front yard, and came over to
talk with him. There was a used van with a chairlift
that Dorlyn wanted Terry to look at, so the whole
family followed their neighbor to nearby Rainy Lake
near International Falls, MN. The neighbor explained
that the property belonged to his cousin's wife in
Arizona. His cousin, David Perlin, was an electrical
engineer, had been paralyzed from an accident in his
youth and had died the previous winter of a stroke.
So the Perlin family did not need the van any more;
the van had very low mileage and no rust.
Dorlyn told the Woods about how David Perlin loved
the area and would come up to escape the heat of
Arizona in the summer. The neighbor showed them
around the property. There was a boat house with
a pontoon boat that David used. Then they went into
the house. Everywhere there were ramps for Zachary
to easily move around the house, and even out onto
the large deck overlooking Rainy Lake; the house
even had an elevator.
The neighbor asked if they could imagine living in
a house like this. Terry's wife Tammy said, "Maybe
if we won the lottery."
But they had payments on their car and the new house.
Terry and Tammy thanked their neighbor for showing
them the place, and said the van was nice, but they
could not afford it at this time. The neighbor said,
"Well then just take it." "Take it all. The house!
The boat! The van! It is all free! I just want
you to enjoy it. Please enjoy it!"
David's wife had decided that she could never go up
to the house on Rainy Lake again, after the death of
her husband, and she could never sell it because of
all the memories. So hearing about the neighbors
across the street from her husband's cousin, she decided
to give them the house (with all furnishings), the
pontoon boat, and the van.
Now Zachary will be going fishing with his Grandpa!