$900 knife helps at the right time

February 9, 2013

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Little Tegan Morrison arrived into the world prematurely, but help for the family – $900 worth – came right on time.

First-time mom Amber Morrison and her husband Clint were facing challenges, including having to drive several times a week from Granbury to Dallas Children’s Medical Center – a 164-mile round trip.

Tegan was taken there a day after her birth in Granbury’s Lake Granbury Medical Center, where she was born on Christmas Day 10 weeks early. Tegan had to stay in the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit at the Dallas hospital, but was finally able to come home Monday.

Not only were the Morrisons dealing with the complications from the early birth, Clint suffered an injury in September that prevented him from working for about three months.

A female employee of the company where Clint works as a warehouse driver, AACA Parts & Supplies, initiated the idea of raising money to help the Morrisons get through their tough times. James Hobbs, who works in inside sales at the Weatherford AACA Parts branch – created a handmade custom knife that was put up for auction, and brought in $900.

“I’m grateful for all these guys,” Amber said Thursday afternoon as she held Tegan, whose name is Aztec for Princess of the Big Valley. “She is a princess.

“I’m very nervous having to take care of her because she is so little. She is a blessing. I want her to be okay. She’s my responsibility.”

Tegan weighed 2 pounds, 3 ounces at birth. Other than normal problems most premature babies tend to have – such as lungs and eyes that are still developing – fortunately Tegan is not facing any life-threatening medical issues, according to her mother.

“They said she was born perfect,” Amber said. “She just needed to gain weight.”

However, at first Tegan had to get through an early period in the Dallas hospital in which she was unable to eat and breathe at the same time.

Amber had her own health issues, including elevated blood pressure and body swelling, which along with her medication from a C-section, prevented her from spending much time with her baby for the first three days.

“Three days later, I got to go,” Amber said. “When we first got there, they let us lay our hands on her, but we couldn’t pick her up. I was so excited when they said I could hold her.”

Amber said at first, however, she was allowed to hold the delicate baby for only one hour.

“A lot of the moms up there – I’m glad we didn’t have to go through what they went through,” Amber said.

Before the knife auction, Amber’s sister, Karen Largent, had placed a jar for donations at a local convenience store, which helped pay for the gasoline the couple was using going to Dallas. They also had expenses at the Ronald McDonald House there, where they stayed Friday through Sunday. Amber was able to sleep in Tegan’s room the last two weeks before she was released.

The auction was arranged by Rodney Wheeler, director of sales and operations for the company, which sells heating and cooling products across the Metroplex.

The email auction, which was open to vendors, some customers and about 50 employees of AACA Parts & Supplies, began Jan. 30 and ended at noon on Wednesday. One vendor, E-Z Filter Base Mfg., of Dallas, made the winning bid – $900.

“It was way more successful than I thought,” Wheeler said. “I thought it would be around $450 or $500. We were just wondering how high it would go.”

Hobbs makes all types of knives, big and small, and Wheeler said, “He does that as a hobby, and he’s just very, very good at it. He typically sells these knives for $300. It was more and more exciting (seeing the bids progress).”

“I was shocked when they told me,” said Clint, who was able to return to work just before Tegan was born. “(Mr. Hobbs) took the money out of his own pocket to make money for (the) auction. We’re glad to finally get her home.”

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