February 25, 2004

To all Eddie's friends and supporters, a big, H U G E thank you for your touching generosity!! We are totally overwhelmed by you wonderful people. I just wish Eddie could talk and tell you himself how happy and touched he is by you all. You most definitely keep us going. Eddie just lights up when I tell him of your latest efforts on his behalf. And he just BEAMED when we put him in the van for the first time.

We picked it up yesterday for good (with all the tweaking and adjusting that they did to it, including very easy-to-operate ratchet tie-downs and a 12,000 mile 12-month GM warranty. The EZLok mechanism has yet to be installed, but we're waiting to make sure where we want it before having holes drilled all over the bottom of the van. )

I'm writing this thank you to T. L. Mitchell, since he was my nearby contact and point person through this all having done much research on the web and by phone all over the country (as many others of you have done also) and having gone with me to the Mentor location to see the van they had (which was actually the van we ended up purchasing - it had been a rental van, but they changed its status to make it available to us) , and having driven both that van and the one we trekked up from Akron. I am not a mechanical person at all, so I relied totally on his savvy to decide on which one to purchase. He was definitely a godsend to us throughout this whole process, and very patient with me.

There are so many others I should thank individually, like Banker Bob, for handling the contributions as they kept rolling in, the gang who spearheaded and coordinated the cookbook project (which I LOVE, by the way! It's got marvelous recipes in it.), all of you wonderful people who keep coming up with great ideas for raising more and more money, like contributing items to the ongoiong , seemingly never-ending auction and then generously puchasing the same, and Sunshine, for putting the bee in all of your bonnets in the very beginning to let you know of Eddie's plight. I'm sorry I am sort of out of the loop as far as knowing who else did what, but please rest assured that I thank you ALL from the bottom of my heart, even if I don't name you by name.

I'm working on finding garage space for our beautiful new chariot (and it really is GORGEOUS and MARVELOUS!!! It has so many bells and whistles I may never know how to utilize them all. The heat and air conditioning are terrific - now I don't have to worry about freezing off Eddie's nubbins or roasting him like a chicken in the back. It's comfortable and he can see out all the windows well. Also, not having to worry about a hydraulic lift eventually breaking down - one of my worst nightmares was the possibility of it quitting with him hanging out in a gale, not able to go in or out, up or down.. The minivan with lowered floor and easy-to-use mechanical ramp is much more sensible.) I'm probably going to have to take out an ad in a local paper to secure a garage.

As to the old van, I've decided to donate it to a good home. It was mentioned to me that there's a family with a son at Broadfield who goes home almost every weekend and they're looking for transportation for him. The van is old enough that there's probably not any resale value left (it's an' 88), so I think giving it away to someone less fortunate than Eddie would make us all feel good.

Well, I could go on and on about how wonderful you all are. I don't know of any people as fortunate as we are to have friends like you.

As soon as we get a warm and sunny day and I can take time off from playing real estate agent, I'll attempt to get pictures of Eddie in his wonderful new vehicle.

Come to Eddie's run in August and check out where your hard-earned money went. By that time, I should also have purchased an inflatable bed, so that we can get Eddie down for a rest (after removing the front passenger seat) during his run.

Thank you again, and God bless!
Ann Kieger

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