Todd Wohlt Memorial Fund
On behalf of the family, the English Language Arts department at ANHS is establishing this campaign to raise money to help with the extensive medical costs associated with Todd's illness, his funeral expenses, his children's education and their future financial needs.
During the past three years, Todd was unemployed and Julie rapidly depleated her allotted sick days in order to care for her sick husband. Sadly, a majority of her "days off" were not only without pay, but she also was required to contribute to cover substitute teacher fees and medical benefits. The Wohlt family would be so grateful for your support to allow them to regain their financial stability.
We sincerly hope that this deserving family is blessed by your generous donation. Any and all amounts are greatly appreciated.
ANHS English Language Arts Staff
Todd never carved a flightless bird.
Todd may have admired many aspects of birds—their delicate forms; their feather variations (soft or sleek, brilliantly colored or beautifully camouflaged); and their unique songs, whistles, and warbles--but I believe their ability to fly was a significant part of his fascination. He often could tell the species of a bird based solely on the way it flew, the way the wings sliced through the air, the rapidity of wing-beats. Did the bird soar, glide, dip, dart, dive, flutter, hover? Did it burst into flight, or did it take a running start across the water in order to become airborne? Did its wings speak to the wind, or did they maintain perfect silence? Think of how loud the frenetic wing beats of the tiny hummingbird are compared to the silent, surreptitious flight of the largest owl.
Todd was the wings in our family. Not the wind beneath our wings, but the wings themselves—
sometimes allowing us to coast on a breeze and requiring only miniscule adjustments to keep us on course, other times keeping us alight only by battling the wind with quick, powerful strokes and sheer will power. On May 27, 2016 our wings were clipped. In mid-flight, we suddenly became desperate, wingless creatures free-falling back to earth. Only the great love and support of family and friends—of YOU--allowed us to survive the plummet by easing our descent and buffering the final impact.
The Wohlt family survived, but we are grounded now.
We can no longer fly, but we are not truly “flightless birds.” A flightless bird has never tasted the sky and doesn’t know what it is missing. It is reconciled to gravity, to its feet on the ground. We are like injured birds, living in a state of rehabilitation; we are protected and cared for but still crave the open sky.
The last bird Todd completed (about a month before his death) was a female anhinga, a bird whose fossilized ancestors have been discovered as far back as the Oligocene Epoch—30 million years ago. Scientists today believe that birds evolved from dinosaurs, and it is easy to believe this theory if you watch the way a turkey walks or look at a hoatzin or an anhinga. Perhaps that was the final lesson that Todd left behind for us, his family and dear friends: that one can evolve, that a flightless creature can achieve flight for the sake of survival.
It is what we are now striving to do—to fly on our own, to fly without wings.
Thank you so much for helping us in our free-fall. God bless you and give you wings!
With deepest gratitude,
The Wohlt Family
Oh Julie, what a lovely piece you have written here! Todd was so lucky to have his loving family help see him through this tragic illness. Please don't hesitate to contact me for anything you need while healing. I am praying for you and your family and think of you often!