If you do your regular shopping at the Minocqua Trig’s grocery store or may be have been in there more than a time or two to get some quick provisions, you probably have met Clay Ferg, even if you didn’t know his name.
“Everyone loves him,” said Joan Stuckenberg, Clay’s mother. “He is always so upbeat and friendly, people just adore him. I don’t think I could be that happy, having gone through what he has gone through in his life. He is an inspiration to many.”
But Clay has been unable to inspire people as much as he used at the store because of a recent injury that has limited his time as a stock boy.
Clay already battles the effects of a childhood accident and recently had another turn of bad luck.
“When he was six, he was hit by a car and suffered brain stem damage,” Stuckenberg said. “That has affected him his entire life.”
Despite the challenges brought on by that accident, Clay has made a life for himself and takes pride in the work he does at Trig’s.
“He went off of social security a while ago because he wanted to,” Stuckenberg said. “He wanted to make a living on his own. He loves to work.”
But while taking his dog for a walk recently, Clay suffered an injury to his knee that has left him unable to work as much as he would like and will require surgery to repair.
“His dog took him for a walk,” Stuckenberg said. “The dog went one way and Clay’s knee went the other way.”
Some days, Clay can only put in part of his regular shift, other days he can’t go in at all. Because he left the social security system, Stuckenberg said they are having a hard time getting those benefits restored and on top of it, Clay has no health insurance.
“We are trying like the dickens to get him back on social security but it is very hard,” Stuckenberg said.
Meanwhile, Clay would rather return to his job but knows that having surgery is the only option.
“The pain is just too much sometimes,” Stuckenberg said.
The cost of the surgery and follow up therapy is expected to run about $75,000. To pay for that amount, family and friends are going to host a fund raiser Aug. 17 at Clay’s brother’s house at 1488 South Farming Road in Arbor Vitae beginning at noon.
“We are going to have food, brats, corn, beef sandwiches, pork-lots of good stuff to eat,” Stuckenberg said.
Local band Refuse to Rust will provide music during the event and a silent auction and live auction will be held.
Stuckenberg said people have been very generous with donating auction items.
“We had one couple donate a couple of weeks at the Beacons, not weekends but whole weeks,” she said. “Another donated the use of a condo, we have a canoe and lots of different items.”
Those wishing to help out but can’t make the fund raiser can donate directly to a fund that has been established at the Associated Bank in Minocqua. Just call the bank at 715-356-9556 and ask for Dani or Linda.
Stuckenberg said she can’t thank those who have come forward to help enough for their generosity and added people have become fond of Clay because of his positive attitude.
“He is an awesome kid,” she said. “He has worked at Trig’s for a long time. He has made a lot of friends.”