Local boy's ‘wish' granted, spends day with loggers


ISLAND POND -- Make-A-Wish Vermont granted the wish of 6-year-old Keegan Brooks by taking him out for a day with Plum Creek Timber loggers in Essex County.

Brooks suffers from muscular dystrophy, which severely reduces an individual's life expectancy. During the referral process, the wish grantors at Make-A-Wish met with Brooks and his family to get to know him, his favorite things and what he might like to do.

Keegan's favorite television programs include "Ice Road Truckers" and "Ax Men" on the History Channel, so his first choice for a wish was to go on a day of logging.

"When we were getting to know him, we brought a truck for Keegan," said wish grantor Becky Umbach. "That's all he played with the entire time we were there fact finding."

Brooks and his family reside in Bennington. While visiting the north end of the state for Brooks' logging adventure, they stayed for the week of July 14 at Jay Peak indoor water park and resort in Jay, Vt.

Wish-eligible children usually ask for a primary and secondary wish because children's' imaginations can run wild, and according to the foundation, is always the driving force in determining the logistics of the wish experience.

Brooks' primary wish grantors, Umbach and Cathy Hagadorn, said his wish was unique enough that they were able to personalize an entire day around logging.

"This is a very special wish because often you hear about wishes that are more publicized, like going down to Disney or swimming with porpoises," Hagadorn said. "This was really what he wanted; He verbalized it to us and was very excited during the wish."

During Brooks' day riding around in a logging truck, Plum Creek shut down its day's operations and had a dozen lumberjacks cater to his ambitions.

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"The videos and photos that we are putting together for the family will stand the test of time and be able to give Keegan that memory of all these people that pulled together to give him an experience that was really personalized," Hagadorn said.

Northern Vermont wish maker Judy Malton was responsible for pulling the strings in Essex County to grant Brooks' wish. Also responsible were Julie Richards Photography, Isabelle Transport, Moulton Logging, Goodridge Lumber and Rusty Dewees.

After Brooks' diagnosis at the Albany Medical Center, doctors told his family about the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Those physicians submitted the referral, which can be submitted by any medical professional, parent, guardian or family member of a child with a life-threatening medical condition.

Brooks' parents, Kayla Brooks and Nick Hollis, said they were grateful for everything the wish grantors were able to do. Keegan Brooks also has a younger brother, Roman.

Brooks will be starting first grade in the fall.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants roughly 1,000 wishes every year throughout the nation. Kids often visit a theme park, concert, sporting event or exotic location. Other times they wish to meet a personal hero or role model, athlete or politician.

Wishes are otherwise mostly limited to the bounds of a child's imagination.

Those who made Brooks' wish possible include: Julie Richards Photography; Logging Truck- Isabelle Transport; Plum Creek Timber Company; Moulton Logging; Goodridge Lumber; Jay Peak Resort and pumphouse; Wish Granters Judy Moulton, Becky Umbach, and Cathy Hagadorn; and Rusty Dewees.

Find Make-A-Wish Vermont online at http://vermont.wish.org/. Learn how you can refer a child or become a volunteer.

Contact Tom Momberg at tmomberg@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @TomMomberg.


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