Justice McNeeley is one fortunate little boy to live in such a caring community. But then, we are so very fortunate to have Justice. He is a breath of fresh air, a spirited chap who does not let anything get him down.
"He melts your heart" said Cindy Maack, who spearheaded the fund-raiser at the Sidewinder in Pine.
Justice has his Go-Bot and the Justice McNeeley Foundation is being formed with the remainder of the funds to be able to help other children. Funds raised through other organizations will be included in this foundation. This machine will work for Justice for several years, through about a foot of growth, but when he finally outgrows it, it will be passed to another child who will benefit from it.
In the meantime, Justice is loving his mobility. He was observed spinning himself around, making himself dizzy, giggling the whole time.
"It is a joy to see him," Maack said.
Jim Steinke is the owner/ president of Innovative Products in Grand Forks, North Dakota. His goal: "to bring mobility to as many children as possible."
Every day, he is making improvements to the products to be able to help more children. Late one Friday afternoon as Steinke was preparing to leave his office, his secretary said there was a call that he would want to take. That was his first contact with the group from Pine. He was most impressed and continued to be impressed with the unbelievable outpouring and caring from these small Arizona communities.
After scores of enthusiastic and encouraging phone calls, Steinke decided to come to Pine for this fund-raising event, and even though it was not yet paid for, he decided to bring the Go-Bot with him. He wanted to meet Justice and these people who were such a part of his life.
"He was as impressed with us as we were with him." Maack said. "Jim is a wonderful, caring, attentive person, the way he talked with Justice. We were very impressed with him. He is a nice man, a good man.
"Our little community could not have done this alone." Maack said. Contributions and support have come from Payson, Rye, Apache Junction and many surrounding communities. "I am overwhelmed with the generosity of people. It blows me away how many warm, wonderful people there are in our communities."
If you happen to encounter Justice and his Go-Bot, watch out. He is still learning how to drive, but he will be smiling.
Besides riding horses and Go-Bots, 5-year-old Justice loves to play pool. Willy Bennett made a pool cue with a zippered case especially for Justice and presented it to him at the Sidewinder event. Justice was thrilled.
On to other happenings around Pine and Strawberry. A busy holiday weekend is upon us. There is lots of good news and some unfortunate news to report. But let's start with the activities.
Saturday begins with the Kiwanis pancake breakfast. All-you-can-eat pancakes plus juice, sausage and coffee will be served from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. both days of the craft festival.
The Arts and Crafts Fair, sponsored by the Pine/Strawberry Arts and Craft Guild, will be on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be lots of art, crafts, fun and interesting things to see and great things to eat.
Tonto Rim Search and Rescue will have the drawing for their famous annual raffle on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the craft fair. There is still time to buy your tickets which help support this amazing organization. Your contributions are greatly appreciated. Once you see the prizes which will be on display at their booth, you will want to buy a bunch of tickets.
The Rim Country American Red Cross will have an information table at the craft show this weekend. Stop by to find out what services are available through the Red Cross as well as how you can become a volunteer.
The Pine Library's used book sale continues Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the library parking lot.
The Pine Creek Collection is celebrating its grand opening on Saturday and Sunday. Owners Kristen and Rex Astle invite you to stop by and meet Alan and Carole Snyder of Potters' Vision and watch a pottery throwing demonstration from noon to 4 p.m. both days. A special "Meet the Artists" reception is from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Sept. 4, with refreshments and fun. The Pine Creek Collection is at mile marker 268 in Pine, the location of the former Pine Artisans Gallery. This is a beautiful shop with great antique furniture and wonderful gift items. Stop by and welcome the new shopkeepers.
Myra's Gallery in Pine has taken over the old Pine Lumber building. You will not believe the change. It is bright and cheerful and full of wonderful art from Myra and other local artists. Myra is looking for artists and crafters to display their work in this new gallery. The shop is open while unpacking and resettling is still going on. Stop by and see the amazing results of their hard work. And watch for word of a grand opening celebration.
Looking Glass Books and Gifts will celebrate its first anniversary this Labor Day weekend. There will be a barbecue on Saturday from 12 to 2 with refreshments, raffles, prizes and fun. See the work of local artists on display in the book store. All books will be on sale through September 12 during the continuing celebration of their anniversary.
Children's Story Hour at the Pine Library will have a special guest at 10 a.m., Sept. 8. Besides reading stories, Arden Edgell does different voices and characterizations which will delight the children.
The sad news is that Cyd's Art and Antiques (and clothes) is closing its doors. Her family is living in the Valley and the separation is just too difficult. This follows the closing of Pine Artisans and Gallery 87. We are losing some wonderful shops and terrific people. It is so important to support our local businesses. Cyd's Gallery is having a great sale this Labor Day weekend. Also, her line of fall clothes will be in the store this weekend. Because she had told so many about these great clothes, she decided to bring them in despite the closing of her business. Cut-Loose and other great brands are featured.
Please provide information for this column regarding upcoming events, activities and items of interest for residents and visitors of Pine and Strawberry. Call or fax (928) 476-2239 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.