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The Adams County Record
Council, Idaho
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July 25, 2012     The Adams County Record
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July 25, 2012
 

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q~ The Adams County Record Wednesday, July 25, 2012 Page 13 e" BY DALE FISK Earl Hamm has always been a big-hearted guy. Now it's part of his physical heart that is too bi . And because of it, Earl doesn't have long to live. Earl grew up in Council and finished school here in the mid 1970s. His mother, Frankie Hamm, and sister, Annette McDaniel, still live here. Earl wound up at Kuna where he and his wife, Patty, have contributed more to making the world a better place than just about anybody. They have spent countless hours helping to collect thousands of pounds of food for local food banks, served as volunteer staff with Treasure Valley Young Marines, organized national Night Out Neighborhood potlucks, captained the Neighborhood watch program, and much more.i Marfan syndrome runs in Earl's family. It's an inherited, connective tissue disorder, although about one- quarter of all cases occur without any family history of the syndrome. Abraham Lincoln had several of the signs of Marfan syndrome-- unusually tall, long arms and fingers, abnormally- shaped chest, and loose joints--but there is no actual proof that he had it. The syndrome affects 1 in 5,000 people, both men and women, of all ethnic backgrounds. Now 55 years old, Earl has been dealing with Marfan syndrome his whole life. His younger brother, Arnold, died years ago as a result of complications from the disease. The complication that is affecting Earl is an enlarged aorta that has caused an aortic aneurysm. Over the course of his life, Earl has had his chest opened three times to correct problems. "I've always had this, always had to have surgery to get these things fixed, and I always knew there'd be more;' he said. But this time is different. Eart's coronary artery is detaching from the graft that was put in 20 years ago, causing blood to leak and accumulate in a large pocket near the top of his heart. Doctors have told him there is nothing they can do. Another surgery would kill him. And it's just a matter of time until the graft fails. He could live a few more years, or he could die next week. The news stunned the couple, and Earl said he was "a mess" for a few days. But now he seems matter of fact about the situation, and just keeps on being the person that he's always been--doing things for others. He says he feels "OK, not in pain; but he gets winded and tired easily. He told Wish Granters, Inc.--a non-profit organization that tries to fulfill a wish for terminally ill adults in Ada and Canyon Counties--that he would like an electric goff cart; maybe one with a musical horn to let people know he's coming. But Earl is not a golfer. He would use the cart to keep on delivering food to people in need, and check on his neighbors while he's at it. Earl and Patty ran Kuna Good Neighbors for many years--a nonprofit that works with the Idaho Food Bank to give food to needy folks around town. The couple has also dispersed E1-Ada Commodities, headed Kuna's Toys for Totsprogram, and distributed food boxes, cash gifts, firewood and clothes at Christmas time. "It seems like the more we do for others, the more we get back" Patty said. On top of all that, they raised Patty's two boys 24M July E]C YOU AFTER THE RODEOv, Pizza & Subs Open ) 11 am to 9pm Closed Tuesdays 406 Illinois Ave. Council 253-6233 from a previous marriage, and took in "a couple dozen" children, providing therapeutic foster care for over 20 years. They often took in kids with problems who had used up all their options. Most were tough cases that came out oflots of attention and a juvenile detention or drug consistent routine, paid off. court. Those kids attended Wish Granters is working on fulfilling Earl's wish: "We're trying to find someone who can donate that golf cart;' explained a representative for the organization. They are also accepting donations toward buying one. For more information, email doug@ wishgranters. org or call 377- 9029. In honor of the Hamms' and their contributions to the community, DK Cullin office. Their firm but fair of Kuna has organized a treatment of the kids, with "Celebration of Life" for Earl Kuna schools, and Earl and Patty spent a lot of time visiting the principal's and Patty. "People from all over the place know and love them. It's time for everyone to give something back to them: Cullin said. Council area people who know or remember Earl are encouraged to attend the Celebration of Life on Saturday, July 28 at the Kuna Senior Center, from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Donations and proceeds from a silent auction will help pay for Earl's medical expenses and support the National Mar fan Foundation. RSVPs are requested but not required. Call DK Cullin at 724-5542 or contact the Kuna Senior Center at 229 N Ave B, Kuna, 83634. 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