New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 11, 1983, New Braunfels, Texas
10A New Braunfels Her ald Zeitung Sunday, December 11,1983
Home wants a family for boy
TEMPLE, Texas (AP) — For three years now, a skinny, olive-skinned boy has broken the pall of loneliness at the Tutor Nursing Home.
Weldon Jackson Jr., “the boy with 40 grandpas,” didn't have a country, a home, or even much of a future when he arrived. But he brought life to this lonely place and its 40 men and four women.
Weldon, in turn, found hope.
Weldon was dropped off at the home three years ago by his father, a soldier at nearby Fort Hood.
Tests indictated the 11-month-old was blind, deaf and mentally retarded.
He never cried or smiled, and had to be fed through a tube in his stomach because he had difficulty swallowing. He suffered through seizures, anemia and pneumonia.
Weldon is still well behind his age level, but he learned to eat after the tube was removed in June 1982 He has some vision and may even be able to hear. He can walk with help and he’s as rambunctious as any 3-year-old or 4-year-old, speeding down the nursing home’s halls on his wheeled, red horse.
Weldon is starting school, ami J.T. Tutor, whose family owns the nursing home, says he he may even be ready to join a real family soon.
“He’s doing absolutely super,” said Tutor. “He's just getting around better. Weldon’s almost at the point now that we think a family could take him. It’s just been remarkable. He just continually amazes
Just last month, Tutor was saying that he didn’t know when Weldon could be placed with a family. “I couldn't even talk timetable,” Tutor said.
“We're ... seriously considering it,” he said.
‘It’s probably the best place he could be. He’s probably helped them as much as they’ve helped them. He has his favorites and manipulates them all. That’s what a child is supposed to do.’
Carol Daniel pediatrician
“There’s been a family that's been very interested him almost since we’ve had him.”
Weldon was bom seven weeks premature in South Korea to unmarrried parents He underwent open heart surgery and had two blood transfusioas at the age of IO days.
His Korean mother renounced him at bi -th. When his father was transfered stateside to Fort Hood, his mother remained in Korea.
Weldon stayed in a base hospital for a wt de. and was later placed in the Tutor nursing home inder a medical service contract, but the father disappeared on his release from the Army
It was not until a Houston attorney caught up with the father in California this fall, that the Tutors could prove Weldon wasn’t an illegal alien.
In the meantime, Weldon couldn't qualify for Medicaid or Medicare.
Scott & White Hospital has donated all of Weldon's
But the care he has received has been key to his development, says Weldon's pediatrician, Carol Daniel.
“It’s probably the best place he could be," Daniel said. “He's probably helped them as much as they’ve helped them. He has his favorites and manipulates them all. That’s what a child is supposed to do.”
His favorite, says Tutor, is George Tidwell. Tidwell became curious about Weldon soon after he arrived in 1980 and started rolling his wheelchair into Weldon’s room.
He sat beside Weldon’s crib and would touch and talk to him. At the time, Weldon didn’t even move his head.
Tidwell knew a little of what it was like to be lonely. His grandchildren live in California, and he has never seen them. Weldon, Tidwell says as he holds the boy in his lap, has filled a void.
“You could say he’s the light of my life,” Tidwell said.
Tidwell said he wants a family to adopt Weldon if it would be the best thing for him. The other residents agree, although they say they would be disappointed to see him go.
Tutor, too, has mixed feelings.
“Once it becomes not detrimental to the baby, you’ve got to consider the family.” Tutor said. “I’m from a very close family. I have nine kids. I’m very prejudiced toward family life .. the thing is you’ve got to do what’s best for him.”
Terminally ill boy gets chance to see tractor
WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - A terminally ill 4-year-old cancer victim whose favorite toy is a model John Deere truck got his “last wish” Friday with a tour of the giant John Deere Tractor Works, a place he wanted to see more than Disneyland.
Will Vincent, who suffers from leukemia and a growing brain tumor, was greeted by hundreds of Deere employees as he rode through the 48-acre factory in a wagon pulled by a garden tractor.
“Will eats, sleeps and breathes John Deere tractors — he just loves this,” said his father, Ralph Vincent, 31, of Carlyss, La.
Along the way he was given a ride on the biggest tractor made by Deere, a model 8850, a 20-ton, 300-horsepower monster that is ll
feet high and 21 feet long, and was allowed to sit at the wheel of a smaller tractor.
“He could stay right there all day I think," Will’s mother Beth said as her son sat in the cab of the smaller tractor.
And indeed, the chubby-cheeked boy declined to leave the cab and sat there turning the steering wheel until his father retrieved him.
About the only word he said on the 90-minute tour was “Tractor.”
Mrs. Vincent, 28, said Will chose to see the factory after shunning her first suggestion of a trip to Disney World in Orlando, Fla.
“When I suggested that he could see them make tractors, his face just lit up," she said.
Garment workers' payday prayer comes through
On* too mony of ono thing and not enough of tho other?625-9144
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) -Payday was a prayerful time at a newly revived garment factory where workers have been donating their services since September, relying only on faith that they would ever get paid.
And for company president Sam DeCasper, who personally handed out each of the 73 paychecks Friday, it was a dream come true.
“We made it!” he exulted as he kicked off a payday celebration in the dingy dining room at the DeCasper Corp. “We made it because you had confidence in me and. most of all, because you had confidence in yourselves.”
Until Fnday, some employees, like Pauline Booth, had worked more than IO weeks without pay.
“This is a wonderful day,” Mrs. booth said as she waved her check, which covered two weeks of work. “I was one of the original eight that came back to work in September, and we’re all very thankful to have a job, especially in these hard times.
“And we’re also very thankful for Mr. DeCasper. He’s been awfully good to us and has done everything he said he would do.”
I^ist spring, a Chicago-based company dosed the plant and locked the doors. Nearly 200 employees, mostly women and all members of the International Ladies’ Garment
Workers Union, lost their jobs.
DeCasper, who had managed the plant under the old owners, refused to quit. Instead, he found a financial backer who joined hun in buying the decrepit factory at a bargain price.
Then he went looking for orders.
“A company down in North Carolina agreed to give us a sinai) order on a trial basis," he said. “After that I called the former employees and asked them to come back and help me. I told them that I couldn’t pay them anything right away but that I thought we could get the business back on its feet if we all pitched in.”
Initially, he said, eight employees returned. Then, as business picked up, more and more workers began trickling back.
“You have to realize that they came back solely on faith,” said DeCasper, adding that he also went without pay “Many of these people are very skilled and used to make better than $5 an hour, plus fringe benefits Right now I can’t pay them more than 33 an hour, although I do expect to get the pay up to about 14.25 an flour to restore some of their benefits."
With more orders coming in and approval of a low-interest loan from the West Virginia Economic Development Authority, DeCasper said the factory’s future is beginning to look promising
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