September 25, 2017
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Perhaps you know Victor? Or you’ve driven Truck Rd., in Deming, in spring and noticed his well-tended fruit trees exploding with blossoms, and then bending under the weight of ripening plums, quince and peaches in fall? When two feet of snow covered the ground and the trailer he calls home, you might have assumed, as we did, that this master orchardist has gone to warmer climes. He hasn’t.
Victor Nickols was born and raised in Deming. He was involved with the school FFA & graduated in 1969 from Mt. Baker High School, before being conscripted and shipped off to Vietnam.
Upon return Victor worked 80 hrs a week for decades making ends meet. But the effects of Agent Orange poisoning from Vietnam eventually caught up to him and working a regular job proved impossible. Only two years ago did he begin receiving nominal social security - not enough to call an income. His small trailer has no electricity and no functional kitchen. Cardboard lines broken windows to keep wind out and tarps cover holes in the roof. Buckets are a necessity during the rainy months. Victor has never asked for anything of anyone, be it an individual, organization or agency. Not ever.
This Veteran served our country in a tragic military action when he was still a teen, and at age 67 he suffers for it. Even though he’s manifested an orchard that dazzles & feeds friends and neighbors year after year, Victor lives day to day. We say enough! With neighbors, friends and the support of a Foundation called All Is Radness, we are building Victor a tiny house on wheels, one that will radiate the warmth of love this community feels for him and that will allow him to live his elder years with dignity. In fact, with Victor’s blessing (which was not so easy for him) we’ve already begun and are seeking your help.
Floy & Ella Markham of Maple Falls offered a wrecked camper, caved in from last winter’s heavy snow. With the 2004 frame in fine condition we set in motion to haul it home to Welcome! Gary Van Dyk gladly accepted that task and with a call out for demolition help, Dennis Workman, Carol & Joe Bennett, Brent Osborn, the McHugh family, and Patrick Martin razed the camper. With Jim & Helen Freeman’s dump truck we took loads of camper debris to the dump & recyclers. The steel trailer frame is now getting prepped to build on and Victor hired help to make improvements to the site by removing some hazardous Maple Trees. Next we build!
Let’s see what WE can do now for one of our own with the fruits of our labor!
The design is underway with Patrick Martin, through his work @ A-1 Builders & Adaptations Design. There are many things to do to get Victor in before winter! Thank you in advance for your generosity and to those who’ve already contributed cash or material donations. It’s a great start & we are poised to succeed!
Skylight (an opener would be helpful)
Exterior Door-Preferably Pre-Hung
Interior and Exterior Trim
Siding- Metal, Wood, Hardi
Windows (need a few opening ones still)
Small wood stove
Solar panels and associated electronics
Sink (Small Kitchen)
Water Heater-Propane On Demand