Throughout his 76 years, Fred Thorne’s life has been one dedicated to service. His longtime friends Mike Weiler and Duane Bradford say that “service” should have been his middle name. Now these friends are determined to come to Fred and Barb’s aid as they face the financial devastation brought about by a litany of major medical setbacks.
Fresh out of the Marine Corp active reserve in the 60’s as an enthusiastic young man, Fred jumped right into his first involvement in community activities heeding the call of his community and was elected to the Sparta Village Council. Here he found what he loved to do and over the ensuing years served with various Sparta service clubs including the Jaycees, Lions and Rotary.
It was in education, however, that Fred really found his niche; first as a 25 year member of the Sparta Board of Education where he was instrumental in various major initiatives. These included the acquisition of land for the high school and the athletic facilities to the west. Former Superintendent Weiler remembers “his friendly, humble, ‘can do, kids first’ approach opened doors and made things happen”.
Fred is most proud of his initiative to launch the Sparta Education Foundation, which continues to provide great support for Sparta students.
Fred’s excellent service in Sparta made him a natural selection to the board of the Kent Intermediate Schools where he has had the privilege of serving the children of all of the schools in Kent County and is now in his 22nd year.
Serious medical problems began to emerge in 1989 with the first of many heart attacks. Over the years, at least a dozen stents have been required and only about 50% of the heart is working. Additional complications began with the early heart attacks resulting in a series of “TIA’s” or mini stokes at which point the doctors prescribed the drug Plavix for life.
As if things were not bad enough, in 2012 Fred was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given a short time to live. Searching for other options, he found a doctor who was using the “Whipple” surgery for pancreatic surgery. That surgery was done in February 2013.
In the recent 12 months, cancer was discovered in his lungs and tumors were removed by laser then in the spring of 2016 by follow up surgery. In spite of all of this and two auto accidents related to medications plus Barb’s broken wrist due to a fall, Fred has trudged on like the Duracell Bunny holding down a job and continuing to serve on the KISD board.
All of the expenses related to the above has wreaked devastation on the family finances. Medical costs not covered by insurance, 18 medications per day, copays , including some over $4000.00 per month, collision deductibles, travel expenses for treatment and missed work have left the Thornes with unpayable bills and the possibility of losing their home.
Too proud to ask for help, this much loved couple has been backed into a corner with no way out. Mike Weiler and Duane Bradford are spearheading this “Go Fund Me” effort to give the community and their many friends a chance to help.
Says Bradford: “These are two of the nicest, kindest people you will ever meet, who are victims of circumstances beyond their control. Here’s an opportunity to show our love and support for Barb and Fred”.