Community comes together to help Teeters family build from the heart
Annie and Zak
Chris & Callie
Plans drawn up for Teeters home
by Cami Mountain
WAUSAU (WAOW) -- Back in May, we introduced you to the Teeters family of Wausau. Chris and Annie have two children born with a rare chromosome abnormality and because of it, severe mental and physical disabilities. We also told you how some people in the community want to build them a new home.
When Chris and Annie Teeters play with their children, Zak and Callie, in their modest, split level home, they climb over more than just their children's disabilities. Unable to walk, Zak crawls and rolls wherever he wants to go.
The Teeters dreamed of a bigger home, one handicapped accessible so Zak and eventually Callie can use walkers and wheelchairs freely.
But it wasn't their only dream. Annie, specifically, hoped for a place where children with disabilities could play together. Where they could interact in an environment built specifically for them. A place where those kids' parents can meet for support groups. Both of those dreams are moving closer to reality.
The Teeters will soon have a new home, built and furnished largely through donations.
"We've been blown away by the community response." Chris Teeters says, "It's been amazing, the amount of response we've had. We're looking forward to it."
They also look forward to what they can give back. A large portion of their new home is dedicated to what they call the community room. It's that place they searched for so desperately.
"I remember when Zak was born, we didn't have anyone to talk to." Annie says, "We didn't have any idea. It wasn't necessarily someone to talk to that had a chromosome abnormality, the same as Zak, just someone to say, "What is it like to sit in a hospital for a week straight? What do you do? What support is out there? Just someone to say, 'I understand your life.'"
While most people don't and never will understand what the Teeters face on a daily basis, many people back the project anyway. When it came to River Valley Bank owner, Todd Nicklaus, he couldn't pass up the opportunity to help.
He says, "We like to do unique things, we like to do things that are challengingly. And after talking to Annie and Chris about their children with special needs and their vision about what they wanted to do; to have this house that would not only help them with their children, but open it up to other people with children with special needs, we thought, let's take this on and see if we can bring it together as a community project."
Take it on they did. They helped the Teeters set up a long term financial plan and agreed to finance their mortgage. Soon after a large group of contributors, mainly from the housing sector, stepped forward. Many of these business owners donated most, if not all, of the labor and supplies needed to build the home.
Nicklaus adds, "When we first talked about this, I'll candidly say, I was skeptical. I know that this area is very, very charitable. People really get behind the projects and give a lot toward what they do; whether it's time, materials or money. It's come along much faster than we ever expected."
In fact, plans were drawn up and a sight selected in just a few months. Come August, ground should hopefully break. If all goes well the Teeters should be moved in by Thanksgiving.
It's something that words can't even explain." Annie adds, "It's just a feeling, we;re just overwhelmed with the community response and to actually be able to turn around and give back, to have a whole room to say we're going to be able to give back is phenomenal."
Throughout the next several months you'll watch this home be built. Newsline 9 cameras will follow every step of the way.