Hiram residents Michele and Rodney Craig have twin 14-year-old sons, Chad and Bradley, who were both born prematurely — Bradley by about 17 weeks and Chad about 14 weeks.
Due to being born early Bradley contracted a form of cerebral palsy and a seizures disorder, which requires his full-time use of a wheelchair. Chad has no visible physical problems but is developmentally delayed.
The Craigs have a specialized van with a wheelchair ramp. The engine in the van needed repairs which left it inoperable in April.
Rodney Craig is a Paulding County Schools bus driver, but was set to only receive one more month of pay before the summer break. Mrs. Craig is a stay-at-home mom because of the need to care for the boys full time.
She said she created a website, blessedbybradley.com, asking for help and telling the boys’ stories.
“You don’t know [who can help] if you don’t [ask],” Mrs. Craig said.
Jim McMichen, director of operations with Visiting Angels in Paulding County, said his wife saw the family needed help on Facebook so he reached out to them.
“With that type of van they are expensive to fix,” he said.
Mrs. Craig said McMichen got them in touch with McEachern United Methodist Church’s Car Care Ministry, which paid to repair the van.
He later called the family to see how the van was running and they mentioned in conversation their air conditioner had stopped working recently.
“Sometimes you have situations where needs overlap,” Mrs. Craig said.
McMichen formerly was a general manager for Ragsdale Heating, Air & Plumbing.
“I wanted to make sure we knew what was going on with their air,” he said.
Technicians from Ragsdale inspected the unit and saw there were problems, so McMichen talked to members of the company which oversee its Brody Fund.
The fund is used to help people in need, and is funded by about 25 employees of Ragsdale who donate money from their paychecks.
Michael Mullins, service technician at Ragsdale, came up with the idea of the fund.
To be selected for assistance there is a six-member committee in place, which represents each department, and they vote whether to help based on the need and finances.
The committee voted and the air was fixed within three days after the technician came to the house.