CADILLAC — Dawn Casey said helping out Andy Denzel has restored her heart and her faith in people.
A few weeks, the Clam Lake Beer Company General Manager said cook Gavin Hoffman and Andy were razzing each other like they normally do. Andy is a regular at Clam Lake and comes in a couple of times a week. Dawn said he has a good rapport with all the staff, but he really has a connection with Gavin.
So it was on this occasion that Gavin and Andy started talking about sports, which Dawn said was one of Andy’s passions. Gavin asked if Andy had ever been to a Detroit Lions game, to which he replied he had not. It didn’t take long before Gavin voiced that he wanted to take Andy to a game.
To most, the solution is simple. Go buy tickets and go to Detroit, but there is a reason why Andy has never been to Ford Field. Andy was born with Cerebral Palsy. In spite of that, Dawn said Andy has maintained a positive attitude and energy.
While his disability in itself doesn’t keep him from going to Ford Field, getting there does, according to Dawn. She said he would need the aid of a special vehicle with a wheelchair lift to transport him. To rent such a vehicle comes with a big price tag and one that Andy could not afford.
That, however, is when Dawn, Gavin and the rest of the employees at Clam Lake decided to make the trip to Detroit and the Lions game happen.
So it was decided the staff at the restaurant/bar committed to getting Andy to Detroit. This included raising the money for handicap accessible tickets for Andy and Gavin and transportation there. The staff committed to raising $1,600 and Dawn said she is happy to say almost double that amount has been raised.
“My heart has been restored. The kindness people have showed is amazing,” she said. “I’m a single girl on a budget. This was on my dime if it didn’t work out, but I knew the community would respond.”
With the tickets paid for and the transportation ultimately donated by someone who owns a bus with a wheelchair lift, Dawn said they are trying to figure out what to do with the money that has been raised. They are looking at helping Andy get items that will make his life easier like a new seat for his wheelchair that will help alleviate sores.
They also are potentially looking at taking him to other events, since Dawn said he doesn’t get the chance to leave Cadillac very often. She also said there are going to be some surprises at the Oct. 31 game, but she is not saying what they are.
“He is one of the kindest and nicest person I know,” she said of Andy.
Although the goal for raising money has been exceeded, Dawn said they are still accepting donations. Again, the money raised will be used to help Andy in some way. She said a person can use Venmo, dawn-casey-14, and title the transaction Team Andy, or they can stop into the restaurant to donate.