WHEATFIELD — A third grade student at Wheatfield Elementary saw a need for a friend and began a quest to help.
Henry Sandonato raised enough money to buy his friend, who has to use a wheelchair, a wheelchair lift for the family car. His friend Weston Sears had no idea what his friend Henry was up to.
On Thursday afternoon, the third grade students gathered outside the school for the big reveal, and Sears had no clue until he got outside and saw the students looking at him. Principal David Myers announced that the students had raised enough money to give Weston and his family the lift, which attaches to the back of a vehicle.
Sandonato said during the summer, the boys were at Cub Scouts and they were getting ready to leave. He said Weston’s mother, Mary, was struggling because the wheels on the chair got stuck and the whole chair, which is electric and very heavy, had to be lifted up so it could be loaded.
This incident made him think about how he could help his friend. He started by adding to his own savings, and then when school started, he recruited his classmates to help.
Each third grader was asked to donate $1 for their friend and classmate. Myers, speaking to Henry outside the school, said, “This was made possible by you and by others in the community.”
To help the fund raising to its goal, the Joan Floyd Memorial Fund and the Abbring Family Farms both made contributions and the goal was reached. The wheelchair lift cost about $1,400 with tax.
Pam Abbring is a kindergarten teacher at the school and she and her husband, Jason, wanted to help so their farm made a contribution.
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As an incentive, the class that raised the most money was awarded with a Lego party. The students did a good job of keeping the mission secret from Weston, who was truly surprised by the gift.
Myers said his fellow classmates love Weston and they were excited to help.
“It’ll make it a lot easier,” Weston said.
He said he plans to help put it together.
“I already know how it works,” he said.
His mom also said, “This will make our lives so much easier.”
She told Weston he could take his chair anywhere he wants now.
Henry is the son of Tommy and Lynnsi Sandonato.