Minnesota Community Comes Together For A Special Boy Named Fitz
I just got back from a relaxing vacation up at Lake Winnie in northern Minnesota around Deer River and came back to find this incredible story about the kind people over in Foley, who come together even when someone in need is from another state. I thought I’d share it with you.
A young boy from the Denver, Colorado area named FITZ, had a wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation/Colorado.
It just so happened that Dan and Tracy Hanes, from Foley, owners of Barntiques Custom Wood & Design, were reaching out to the “Make A Wish” Foundation for another reason.
Tracy had a health scare that luckily, turned out to be okay in the end. But that scare made Dan and Tracy ponder on the thought that there are others who are not as fortunate.
Dan was an elementary school teacher for years, and Tracy was a Pediatric Nurse, it was their combined love of working with kids that made them think about doing something for a child through the Make-A-Wish Foundation; so they reached out.
Little did they know that each state operates its own Make-A-Wish Foundation but through the Colorado Foundation came across this young man who had a wish. His wish from my understanding was to have a really cool playhouse. What they learned about Fitz was that he loves reading, science projects, and experiments; so Dan and Tracy knew they were the right fit.
If you’ve ever driven to Foley on Highway 23, you may have seen some of the amazing playhouses that Dan, along with his son Carter, have created. They look like something out of a Harry Potter movie. Curves, and twists with wavy windows, doors and more; each one a masterpiece all its own. I’ve been mesmerized by them for years, but never stopped by to ask any questions.
Dan, along with his son Carter, are the incredible woodworking masters behind the amazing playhouses they create. Tracy is also a big part of the team, doing behind-the-scenes paperwork and helping with some of the creative touches on their playhouses.
Dan and Tracy reached out to Fitz’s family in Colorado and sent them a model, so the family could figure out exactly what they wanted Dan to make for their son. They wanted a loft and some kind of pulley system. Dan started working on Fitz’s dream playhouse, and when I called him, he and Tracy had just driven out to Denver, delivered the playhouse, and were invited to stay for a block party before making their long venture back to Minnesota. There were about 10 volunteers from the Make-A-Wish Foundation on hand to help with Fitz's special day.
What I found so incredible about this story, is that Dan & Tracy had put a note out to their Facebook community and asked for donations for Fitzs’ family. They were overwhelmed (but not necessarily shocked) by the outpouring of gifts from Foley community members.
Not only did Fitz receive his incredible playhouse, but he also received all kinds of gifts from the people of Foley who sent books for him to read, a handmade teddy bear and handmade blanket, posters, crayons, a chalkboard, and some battery-operated lights that Fitz was excited to put up in his playhouse.
The Indie Foundation also sent a care package to this boy from Denver, Colorado, even though it is a Minnesota-based company that usually focuses on Minnesota folks.
Fitz has named his playhouse “Fort Fitz” and I just wanted to share the wonderful things that this community did for someone they didn’t even know.
So thank you, Dan, Tracy & Carter, for your beautiful creations and for making this kind donation, and thank you to ‘Foley Folks’, who came together and went out of their way to make this an extra special gift.
Dan & Tracy wanted me to let you know that the Make-A-Wish Foundation can always use gifts like this. If you want to contact them with something special that YOU make; or maybe you can provide a trip, gift cards, or gas cards for the families; anything you can think of will make the lives of these kids and their families a little easier. You can contact the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Minnesota by clicking HERE.
Dan writes poems for a lot of the sheds, especially when he feels a bond with the client. This is the poem he wrote for Fitz.
To all those who enter, leave your troubles at the gate.Join the fun inside with Fitz, and be ready to create.There are paints and plays and magic shows each and every day.At night we’ll curl up with a book and try to stay awake.So step right in and stay awhile, laugh and share some fun;and when you go we will say a prayer to the Father and his son.To all those who enter, leave your troubles at the gate.Join the fun inside with Fitz, and be ready to create.There are paints and plays and magic shows each and every day.At night we’ll curl up with a book and try to stay awake.So step right in and stay awhile, laugh and share some fun;and when you go we will say a prayer to the Father and his son.