The Addison County tractor pull community lost Ken Van De Weert, after a long battle with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. It was through the community's experience with his illness that it learned how truly giving a rural area can be.
Some Addison County residents, including the Middlebury Lions Club members, organized a successful recent fundraiser-the Addison County Benefit Pull-and anonymously presented the money to Ken's family. The money was enough to ease some of the struggles the family was going through; it assisted Ken in becoming a little more independent as his life was coming to an end.
With the money the community was able to provide, Ken's family installed a track system throughout the house, allowing him to maneuver; they even installed hand controls in his truck as he had lost the ability to use his legs.
"We decided that we would be ok with letting the public know that in the past five years we have been able to give away around $90,000 to families in need," according to Danielle Dragon. "Thank you so much from all of us (to those) for (their) involvement with this (Addison County Benefeit Pull) event and your generous donation."
The family was able to spend precious time with Ken (or Zeke as tractor pullers referred to him), traveling across country on what would be his family's last vacation with him.
Zeke was a kind, generous and well-respected man who was an avid tractor puller. He was also a dairy farmer for many years and helped others with their crops.
Zeke was an active member of the Christian Reformed Church and was a loving father, husband, uncle and friend. In a e sure Ken joins us every year at the track as he would have never missed a tractor pull so close to home.
It is a recent public handout printed in honor of Zeke, the Addison County tractor-pulling community stated that it "pulled together for him and his family" to put on the recent benefit pull "though we had quite a lot of fun doing it as well."