Austin’s arms and legs had to be amputated just before his third birthday when doctors detected a rare bacterial meningitis and had to take action, it was life-saving.
Without his limbs Austin had some difficulties to face. When he entered kindergarten, his family was living in an apartment which wasn’t handicapped accessible. So his mum started a GoFundMe account in hopes of getting help.
It wasn’t picking up traction until Austin’s teachers, Tracy Schmidt and Holly Peterson, stepped in to help. Because Austin could accomplish so much in school, they wanted him to have that opportunity at home by giving him a piece of independence.
His teachers created “A Home for Austin” a committee which started multiple fundraisers, accepted donations and volunteer work. Prior to the committee there were people who wanted to help, but didn’t know how. “A Home for Austin” gave them the chance.
In three years the committee reached their goal and built a new home for Austin. The house itself was built behind Lennox High School and moved to Tea in July of 2014. In his new home Austin is able to shower on his own, sit at the desk with his dad using a stool to reach the dining table, and go outside thanks to ramps and electronic doors.
In the process of helping Austin, the community gathered in an unprecedented scale. Peterson explained the support from the Tea and Lennox community has changed the community itself.
“If you bought a T-shirt, to spreading the word on Facebook, you made an impact and it’s good that you get to see the result of your work every day,” Peterson said. “Every time you drive by, you’re proud he’s in that house.”