A lot of folks would agree that playing outside in the snow is one of their favorite childhood memories.
In fact, many of us take it somewhat for granted. It seems perfectly natural and lighthearted to lob a snowball, create a frosty angel outline or gleefully sled down a hill.
But all too often, kids with special needs aren’t able to participate in these carefree activities. Statistics suggest there are numerous children who are likely being left out.
The National Center for Education Statistics, for example, estimates that roughly 6.7 million students aged 3 to 21 received some type of special education services between 2015 and 2016.
Maybe that’s why one father’s efforts are blowing up the internet in such an uplifting way. His name is Gregg Eichhorn and he lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Eichhorn and his wife, Katie, are proud parents to nine awesome kiddos. Every single one of these adopted children has special needs.
So you might say Eichhorn is always on the lookout for ways he can make life a little easier for this energetic gang. He got a chance recently when a big winter snowstorm rolled across Ohio.
This dedicated dad certainly made the most of his opportunity. Local Fox affiliate WXIX reported that Eichhorn and his sister Sarah Brantley spent nearly five solid hours building a stupendous snow fort.
But this wasn’t just any old igloo. The determined duo made sure it was actually wheelchair-accessible, too.
“I keep telling everybody, it’s really no big deal,” Eichhorn told WXIX. “We were already building a snow fort, so when we were doing it I said, ‘Hey, let’s build it so that Elijah and Zahara, my two kids in wheelchairs, could use it as well.”
Elijah is 11 and Zahara is 19. And people across social media seem to agree they deserve to make some classic snow-day memories, too.
So how did this devoted dad modify his architectural approach to help everyone participate fully? In large part, it involved creating a wider entrance.
“We built a bigger igloo — one that had a handicap-accessible hole so Elijah and Zahara could experience it because I did when I was a kid,” Eichhorn said.
But then Eichhorn’s friend shared a quick snapshot online. “My buddy Gregg built this handicap accessible snow fort for his daughter,” read the original Reddit caption.
That’s when the appreciative comments began appearing everywhere. Local ABC affiliate WCPO reported that Eichhorn is now being called everything from “awesome” to an “A-plus” parent.
But this unassuming dad chalks it all up to simply loving his kids unconditionally, and he hopes that anyone offering to donate money would instead consider supporting reputable adoption agencies.
“Our family is getting kind of full, and it would be great if people stepped up, took on the same roles and enjoyed the kind of joy that we do. Because yeah, we get a lot of joy out of life,” Eichhorn said.
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