Photo Provided


Pictured in front are Cole, Lori, Steven and Steve Hoese; and in back are volunteers from Core Mechanical Engineering, Dilling Group, Ace Builders, Mid City Building Supply and Digger Specialties.
Photo Provided Pictured in front are Cole, Lori, Steven and Steve Hoese; and in back are volunteers from Core Mechanical Engineering, Dilling Group, Ace Builders, Mid City Building Supply and Digger Specialties.

A Marshall County boy’s wish was fulfilled on Tuesday.

Six-year-old Steven Hoese saw his indoor therapy playhouse for the first time in front of a crowd of family, friends and volunteers.

During summer 2017, Steven’s dad, Steve, applied to Make-A-Wish for him.  Steven told the Make-A-Wish coordinator, Tricia Morton, that he wished for “a rainbow to slide on with a pot of gold at the end.” Many people receive an experience, but Steven’s parents knew that ongoing therapy would prove more beneficial, so they requested a play place of sorts. The playhouse would be built in a newly constructed pole barn on the Hoeses’ property north of Plymouth.  

To begin this journey, the family met with Steven’s physical therapist and occupational therapist to pick out equipment that would benefit Steven. After sending the list to MAW, a builder and installer were sought. MAW reached out to Southwire Company’s Project Gift, a community service outlet of the Bremen company. In November, Southwire sent four representatives to meet with the family at the proposed location at the Hoeses’ property, the Project Gift coordinator and three engineers. Bob Miller, Andy Carr and John Yeager embraced the project and the vision was born.

In March, plans were developed, equipment was ordered and resources acquired. Southwire reached out to Ace Builders out of Nappanee to help with the construction.

Core Mechanical Services, Etna Green, and Dilling Group, Warsaw, aided the project by performing necessary plumbing and electrical changes. Mid-City Supply also donated supplies to the project.  

It took several months for the equipment to be constructed and a series of work dates set. Then on July 28, a crew of at least 30 volunteers arrived. A loft was built, equipment installed, outdoor projects tackled and a vision came to fruition. Over 350 hours of volunteer time was clocked, not including friends and family members of the Hoese’s aiding in various parts of the project.





“Once we met Steven and his family, and were able to learn more about the disease that they are struggling with, our partnership with Make-A-Wish became more about how we can utilize our strengths and technical skills to make a difference in the life of this family in our community, as giving back is the core value of our collective efforts, called Project GIFT,“ said Jodie Overmyer, Project Gift coordinator.

Steven has Autosomal Recessive Spastic Ataxia of Charlevoix-Saguenay, a degenerative, neurological disorder. He was diagnosed in June 2017. The disorder effects the neurological pathways from his brain to his muscles. It causes an awkward, guarded gait with fine motor and gross motor delays.

He definitely has not let his disorder slow him down. On reveal day, he scaled the over-9-foot rock wall in just minutes and treaded through a series of obstacles arranged by his therapists before approaching the rainbow slide and zooming into the crash pit (pot of gold). He ended his obstacle course with a thank-you to the crowd of approximately 60 in attendance.  

Pastor Mark Cottrill had the honor of bringing Steven to the site of his playhouse.  

"We feel it was God's favor that brought this entire project to completion,”?he said. Cottrill is the pastor of Bourbon United Pentecostal Church where the Hoese family regularly attends.

“We want to thank Make-A-Wish for the equipment and accepting Steven as a candidate. However, without Project Gift and the vision of three men from Southwire, the project never would have reached the magnitude that it did. We are so grateful that they adopted the project as their ‘baby’ and made a perfect therapy playhouse for Steven,” said Steven’s mom, Lori Hoese.