When the story broke of a recreational scooter that had been stolen from the home of 101-year-old Chester Cunningham in northeast Clackamas County, sympathy flooded in, and more than one person contacted the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office in an attempt to donate the $1,200 it would take to replace his primary means of mobility.
He refused to accept.
“I appreciate that very much, but I would rather they take that money and give it to people who need it,” he said.
As Cunningham explained, he was born in 1919 and had lived through the Great Depression. For several years, he and his family struggled to survive. Right now, as the county, state and nation grapple with an economic crisis that has been compared to the Depression, Cunningham said he is more concerned for others right now.
“Chester explained he wasn’t a rich man, but he would prefer people direct their generosity toward those in our community who are going without food,” a release from the sheriff’s office said.
As it turned out, deputies were able to recover the electric- and pedal-powered trike last week thanks to an anonymous tip, and Cunningham was reunited with his property.
“We’ve contacted those who offered to replace Chester’s tricycle and told them the good news,” said the sheriff’s office. “We also passed along Chester’s request that they help those who are, as he said, in more need than he is. We’re pleased this case has a happy conclusion.”
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