This summer Lexi Everts watched as local teacher Jen Schommer lifted her wheelchair-bound son Gabe, into the family’s van. When Mrs. Schommer couldn't lift the power chair into her cargo area without help, Everts jumped into action in more ways than one. She decided that the Schommers needed a handicap accessible van. Since Gabe has surpassed his mom and sisters in weight, it has been an ever-increasing challenge to get him into their vehicles. It is also important to the well-being of Gabe to foster independence.

There were a variety of possible solutions, but the best solution was thought to be a van with wheelchair accessible modifications. When Everts brought this to the attention of Roxi Wakeen, she knew that for the health and well being of the family, she needed a fundraiser to support them. Everts set up a GoFundMe page for the family.

The family was blessed by the help of friends, co-workers, former students and students’ parents, community members, church members, and Knights of Columbus of St. Mary’s in Hammond, Father Jerry Harris and the staff at St. Mary’s parish

and to the many people who chose not to share their names. The family is grateful for the overwhelming support; they are happy to share that the help and God's guidance has allowed them to purchase a handicap accessible van for the Schommer family.

The Schommers have always been thankful for their community and feel that this community is a part of them, BUT in this past month, they have felt that the love and support given is above what a community does.

All involved would like to say thank you to the amazing community members that supported Everts and Wakeen, who advocated for the Schommer family, in the purchase of a handicap accessible van.

The Schommers wish that you all could see the growth in Gabe during this event. Gabe was an active decision-maker in this process. He checked out vans and thought about to what degree each one would help him. He was excited when they decided to travel to actually see them. When they went to check out the handicap accessible vans, he took ownership in how they might be best for him as well as his sisters and parents.

The family feels that words can't correctly express the true appreciation for the support. Still they are overwhelmed by the impact that others are having in their lives and knowing that God has His hands in all of this. They would like to say Thank you to each and everyone that made this purchase happen as it has helped them immensely. “Thank you seems so little, but know that it is truly from our hearts.”

Thanks with Love, Jen and Matt, Gabe, Emma and Mara Schommer

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