FROM THE NEWS-HERALD: Mayor Sollars opens Petting Farm for a special visit

TAYLOR — Mayor Rick Sollars was leaving his office after a marathon of meetings last month when he found an older resident sitting at City Hall crying.

After Sollars asked what was wrong, the woman explained that her 8-year-old grandson, who is seriously ill, wanted to go to the Heritage Park Petting Farm but that it was closed for the season.

Her grandson, Dominick Keck, especially wanted to visit the donkey there, because his favorite Christmas song is “Dominick the Donkey,” she said.

Her initial request was for the city to bring the donkey to see Dominick.

“I laughed, because we don’t really have the means to transport it,” Sollars said.

But Sollars wanted to at least check to see if there was something the city could do for the woman and the child.

First, he called city foreman Guido Ulin and found out that, although cleanup had begun, everything was still in place at the petting farm.

“Guido said it would not take anything to open it,” Sollars said. “So we said, ‘Let’s help the family out and open it for them.’”

One day after Sollars’ chance meeting with Dominick’s grandmother, the farm reopened Nov. 19 for a special visit.

Dominick, his father, Larry, and his family and friends made their way through the farm and visited with the animals.

Most importantly, Dominick got to say hello to the donkey and feed it.

That evening at the City Council meeting, Sollars issued a proclamation, declaring that Nov. 19 was officially Dominick Keck Day in the city.

“My last communications is something a little closer to my heart,” Sollars said at the meeting, before reading the proclamation. “I would like to give him this proclamation. He is a very courageous young man.”

On the city’s Facebook page, Dominick’s aunt, Lisa Keck Kujawa, wrote how thankful her family was for that day.

“It was very special,” she said. “We didn’t know what beautiful things God had planned.”

Saying that they were too emotional to talk about Dominick’s illness, his family declined to talk further for this report.

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