‘Fine article’ shows value of spirit, determination

I note with great interest the fine article (in the July 31 edition of the Stettler Independent) of the honouring of the latest “Champ”

Four-year-old Roan Heck’s poignant story in the Independent reminded former Stettler resident Rev. Dick Hunt of his son’s experience in overcoming a disability.

Dear Editor:

I note with great interest the fine article (in the July 31 edition of the Stettler Independent) of the honouring of the latest “Champ” with the War Amps Association of Canada. I am sure that Roan (Heck) must be the grandson of Charles Heck and his wife, friends from my years in Stettler.

At the age of four, our son Tim was fitted for a “wooden leg” in Stettler, and the late Ken Ince was a prime mover in the Lions Club for that help. He introduced “Whipper Billy Watson” to Tim, and together we visited the schools to show the service of the Lions Club.

In 1963, my son Timothy was sponsored by the late Fred Bass, a member of the War Amps, to be honoured and assisted as “Sydney” for the year.

He was fitted with his first mechanical prosthesis, the first of many over the years, as he grew and developed.

Last Friday, Aug. 16, he celebrated his 57th birthday.

He was born in University Hospital in Saskatoon, Sask., and on the sixth day, when Tim was examined before being released, a doctor felt a lump on his tiny right thigh, which a biopsy, on his ninth day was revealed as bone cancer.

On his 16th day, his surgeon amputated his leg at the hip socket, thus saving his life.

He then suffered a virus infection, which was circulated through the air conditioning system, in the wound.

By the time that was cleared up, Tim was nearly two months of age.

Ruth visited him night and day to nurse him every four hours, during all that time, six blocks from home. And I drove her in the car. Our lovely neighbours looked after our other three children.

Tim has never had a recurrence of the cancer. He has never looked back, nor have we ever noticed that he has felt sorry for himself. He has always set very high standards of achievement for himself and has been an advocate for the underdog.

He achieved his rank of journeyman in his trade, which is “cabinet maker,” plus many other achievements in the labour marketplace.

He has been a world-class skier in handicapped sports, having performed successfully in the Olympics, twice in Europe and widely in North America.

Through all this personal activity and service, Tim has upheld the highest standards of work and has no regrets that I am aware of.

In Campbell River, he became the produce manager in a family-owned Food Store and did himself proud. He learned to ride a bike by a strap fastening his left foot to the pedal. He did himself proud in riding motorcycles. He still responsibly and safely drives various models of motor vehicles, either automatic or standard, without special equipment.

He has been a model as an achiever.

He and his wife Elaine are active in their church and community. And they have been a great help to me, along with the other members of my family, as I just celebrated my 93rd birthday.

My wife of nearly 69 years recently passed away in a good care home, from Alzheimer’s disease. I live alone with some homecare help, courtesy of Veterans Affairs. And my doctor classes me as in perfect health in every respect.

Sincerely,

Rev. H.R. (Dick) Hunt

Maple Ridge, B.C.

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