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The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) had a part in a “Make a Wish” presentation to a 10-year-old boy in Bryans Road on Dec. 8.
Elijah Harris is recovering from his second bout with leukemia. The Make a Wish Foundation, a nonprofit that works to grant wishes to kids with life-threatening medical conditions, got in touch with Elijah’s family. What was his wish? A treehouse.
The young boy received his treehouse and much more as several community groups joined together to provide gifts for Elijah and his family. Dan Ryan Builders, headquartered in Frederick, volunteered to take on the main request, building the treehouse. The souped-up Dan Ryan Builders’ version includes a lookout tower and a pulley system with a bucket that will allow Elijah to pull up deliveries from below.
Many participated in the project. Dan Ryan Builders Community Sales Manager Kim Simonson initiated the company’s involvement. “I approached Adam Schueftan, my division president, and Dan Ryan, the owner of the company, and without hesitation, they said ‘Yes!’,” Simonson said. “Many of our vendors pitched in, and Lowe’s of La Plata donated $1,500 worth of fun [accessories] for the treehouse, including the mulch for underneath.”
Mike Toms, the construction company’s production director, handled the build, while Ingrid Anderson and Simonson handled the design and décor. “It was a team effort from the entire company. Tucker Tobin and Sean Holmes oversaw the build, and Doug Meeker of Elm Street Development gave us a variance to the common ground to permit the treehouse.”
A week before the reveal, both Anderson and Simonson were attending a fundraiser for the Charles County Hospice House. There they met Maryland State Del. Edith Patterson and invited her to the treehouse event. “That is where the story got even more wonderful,” Simonson said. In one week, Patterson connected with several other organizations for their consideration of other ways to brighten the family’s day.
CSM Director of Development Chelsea Brown gave scholarships to Harris and his three younger brothers to attend CSM’s Kids’ and Teen College this coming summer. Brown also gave each of the boys bags full of CSM gear, including hats and shirts.
“We were delighted that Del. Patterson reached out and asked us to be a part of this event,” Brown said. “It is days like these that show just how generous our community really is and how much we can make a difference.”
“This was so wonderful, to give back to our community,” Simonson said. “Without the community, we wouldn’t be in business. It was a blessed day.”Other gifts for the family came from a variety of community organizations, including the Southern Maryland Chain Chapter of The Links Incorporated, Charles County Sheriff’s Office and the Southern Maryland Agriculture Development Commission.