Gifts for Gus

Philipsburg community surprises family with handicapped accessible van. 

Philipsburg, Montana has a population just under 1,000 residents, but they say the people there take care of each other when their neighbor is struggling. One family's life is changed forever because of the kindness of the Philipsburg community. 

Gus Fitz is a sixth grader at Philipsburg Elementary. At five years old, doctors diagnosed him with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a disorder that weakens Gus' core muscles, starting with the legs then spreading to the rest of his body. Gus is expected to use a wheelchair from now on.

His mother, Lucinda, said it's been hard for her family, but she said the community is looking out for them. 

Lucinda said another parent at Philipsburg Elementary saw the single mother of two struggling to transport Gus, and wanted to help. 

"He seen us that one day getting in and out of the truck and he said right then 'she needs our help, she’s part of our family, our community, we need to help her,'" Lucinda said. "He spearheaded and got with several of the local businesses and several of the local individuals, and within a month, here we are. We have all these things."

Lucinda said in a matter of weeks, the community rallied together to buy Gus a motorized wheelchair and a lift to use at school. But the act of kindness didn't stop there, Lucinda said on Monday the community surprised her family with another gift. 

"We got a 2010 Honda Odyssey, which is handicapped accessible for him. We have a ramp now," Lucinda said. "He can just roll right in, we strap him down, get to our destination and he can roll right out."

The Philipsburg Rotary club was one of the organizations that pitched in for the gifts. Rotary club president Pat Hughes said the people of Philipsburg care for one another. 

"Everybody got together and said 'hey let’s get this done' and it’s amazing," Hughes said. 

Lucinda said the acts of kindness from her neighbors has blown her away. The only way she can thank the community is to help others. 

"The only thing that really comes to mind is thank you, God bless you. Now I want to try and pay it forward someway to somebody, so we’ll see what we can come up with," Lucinda said. 

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