DE PERE, Wis. (WFRV) – A 15-year-old Syble Hopp student with cognitive disabilities had his wishes realized on Wednesday thanks to a joint effort by several members of the community.
Aden Widmer has had a fascination with the Mulva Cultural Center construction project since it broke ground in De Pere back in August of 2021.
The cultural center, founded by Jim and Miriam Mulva, will include a two-story glass atrium, exhibition hall, restaurant, classrooms, meeting space, and an auditorium seating 200.
Many members of the community are excited for this new space, including Aden, who according to his mother, Tasha Widmer, has been ‘obsessed with all things construction’ since the project began.
Widmer shared that she frequently brings her son to the Mulva Cultural Center construction site so that he can watch from the sidelines as crews worked and operated machinery like the crane – which is Aden’s personal favorite.
Seeing her son’s fascination, Widmer reached out to Ryan Fritsch with City Wide Masonry, to see if he had any connections that could help Aden get a bit closer to experiencing what it feels like to be part of the crew.
Unbeknownst to her, City Wide Masonry, with the help of JP Cullen, joined forces to make Aden’s wishes come true. On March 16, Aden was invited to visit the construction site to get a first-hand taste of the trade.
During the outing, Aden was given a tour of the construction site, an opportunity to sit in several large pieces of heavy machinery and watch a crane in action up close.
“Just to see him and his dad be able to climb up and sit in there and just enjoy the equipment; enjoy what he was able to do and see; what the guys are able to see while they’re out here working…It was really cool,” shared assistant project manager with JP Cullen, Colin Frey.
In addition, Aden also got to sign the topping out beam. This is a tradition created by iron workers to commemorate the highest point and final beam of a particular job. An honor reportedly only left to those who worked on and donated money to a particular project.
“It’s an ironworking tradition that when you erect a structure the last or highest point of your beam is the topping out beam so we’ll put a tree on top of this, a Christmas tree and we’ll also hang an American Flag from it and we’re going to be setting this tomorrow to top out the Mulva Cultural Center,” explained Frey.
Aden printed his name next to the founders of the Mulva Center Project, James and Miriam Mulva, making him a part of this project forever.
Aden ended his tour with a pile of construction toys and tools of the trade, generously donated from JP Cullen, SPEC MIX, Marshalltown and Stabila.