Tag Archives: Memorial Field

The Gerber Boy

Story of the Day for Saturday August 20, 2011

The Gerber Boy

                      Filled with compassion, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him. 

                                                                   Mark 1:41

 The Raymond Dunn, Jr. Memorial Field is a baseball field that is, not surprisingly, named after Raymond Dunn, Jr. What is curious, however, is that Raymond never played baseball nor had the slightest interest in the game.

 

Raymond died in January of 1995, and many feel it might have been better if he had never been born. Oxygen deprivation caused severe retardation. He was born blind with an undersized brain. His complications grew with his age. He never learned to walk or talk. He was racked with twenty seizures a day and had asthma. Even after he reached ten years of age, he barely weighed over thirty pounds.

 

Raymond’s serious troubles began when his parents discovered he had severe allergies to all foods – except for one special food manufactured by Gerber baby foods.

Because of the high production costs and lack of demand, Gerber announced they were discontinuing production of MBF, an expensive meat-based formula.

When Raymond’s mom heard the news, she frantically bought up every jar of the food she could find.  She told Gerber of her plight and they – with approval from the FDA – gave her their remaining outdated stock.

 

Eventually, the discontinued brand of Gerber food that was keeping Raymond alive was almost depleted. Gerber agreed to reveal their formula to any company willing to make it. No takers.

When Raymond’s plight was announced to the members of Research and Development at the Fremont, Michigan plant, they volunteered to help. Without pay and on their own time, they set up production to produce the discontinued Gerber food for one person.  Raymond Dunn, Jr. became known as “The Gerber Boy.”

 

The volunteers at Gerber kept Raymond alive for another ten years before he died of his complications. I suppose many consider it a waste of time and resources to dedicate so much for the help of a kid who was so severely retarded. But that is a matter you’ll have to take up with the employees at Gerber. I suspect that they would say that helping Raymond was one of the most moving and inspiring things they had ever done.

 

The compassionate volunteers at Gerber remind us that God’s love is not limited to healthy over-achievers. We are not saved because we are strong and good, but because we trust in the One who cares for the helpless.

 

And Raymond’s life was not a waste. The compassion he evoked led to the construction of a recreational site and a house to provide care to medically fragile adults.

Compassion always baffles our cold, cynical analysis of what is valuable in life.

 

                                                 (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)