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Baby Alivia: An update

December 30, 2004

On Dec. 22, I told readers another chapter in the continuing story of Alivia Koontz.

The Hagerstown child is under 2, but she has already undergone two surgeries to repair a defect in her heart.

In that same column, I also wrote about the fact that the 1978 four-wheel-drive Chevrolet pickup truck owned by her father, Jimmy Koontz, was on its last legs.

Koontz, who works at Ski Liberty, is entering the busy part of his work year and is expected to be there, no matter how much snow is on the roads.

After that column, we received many calls from mechanics, some retired and local service garages whose owners were willing to help put the truck back together, or at least try.

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But Koontz's next day off isn't until Tuesday, Jan. 4. That's when he and his wife, Angela, will sit down and decide what to do about the vehicle - and how to thank everyone who has offered to help.

"We thank everyone who called," she said Wednesday.

Baby Alivia's first Christmas went well, she said, though it didn't start out that way. The furnace died Christmas morning, she said, though a small wood stove kept the family warm until the repair crew arrived.

Her mother said Alivia's favorite toys so far are Elmo, from the Sesame Street TV show, a train that plays Christmas music and wooden blocks that doctors encouraged the family to get as a combination of play and therapy.

Thanks to all who have called to offer help and who have contributed to help this family, not only from the Koontzes, but from me, too.

Sometimes columnists aren't sure if what they write does any good. In this case, thanks to the generous readers of The Herald-Mail, we were able to help a little child and her family have an easier time of it.

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