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Vandelism won't spoil family's summer fun

Meet the Kaltz family – Faith (from left), Melvin, Tina and Gillian. Despite being the victims of some senseless vandalism, they’re still going to enjoy their summer. (click for larger version)
June 30, 2010 - Sometimes it seems as though there's very little decency or respect for others left in this world.

Case in point, a family in the Village of Leonard was the victim of a senseless act of vandalism that almost ruined their plans for a low-budget Fourth of July vacation.

"It was just so disappointing," said Leonard resident Tina Kaltz, who's lived in a home on Forest St. since February 2009. "It just takes that one person who can kill the hopes of someone."

Tina and her husband, Melvin, spent all of Thursday, June 24 in their backyard erecting an Easy Set pool and setting up a large tent for their two youngest children, 8-year-old Faith and 5-year-old Gillian, both of whom attend Leonard Elementary.

Since both Tina and Melvin are currently unemployed, taking a family vacation to northern Michigan wasn't an option this year. "We used to go to Houghton Lake every year, but with times the way they are, we just can't do it," she said. "As in all homes, we have had to cut back and borrow from our parents just to get by."

Although she's worked as a substitute, Tina's been unable find a full-time teaching position.

"I've been trying to get into Oxford (Schools) for four years, but I'm not having much luck," she said.

Melvin was laid off from a local company that specializes in installing and repairing revolving doors. He worked there for almost 20 years before he was laid off about a year-and-a-half ago.

Despite the household budget crunch, the couple decided their girls could at least have some fun this summer in the backyard, splashing around in the pool purchased by Tina's elderly parents, who are on a fixed income.

The grandparents bought the pool because Gillian has brittle bone disease and they thought swimming would be good exercise for her as well as Faith.

Tina and Melvin got out the tent, so the whole family could camp out at Addison Oaks County Park this weekend and watch the spectacular fireworks.

However, when the family awoke Friday morning, they discovered a good amount of the pool water was now soaking both the lawn and the tent, which had been knocked to the ground.

The tent poles were broken and the pool cover was wrapped up within the poles and tent.

"I don't know if this was kids or adults who did this," said Tina, noting her neighbors didn't see or hear anything. "My husband and I were just really sad because we've been working really hard to get the house cleaned up and the backyard looking nice so the kids would have a nice place to play."

Tina found the whole experience very disheartening, especially considering she moved to Leonard from the Lake Villa Manufactured Home Community in Oxford because she "couldn't stand the fact that my kids had no place to play."

She wants whoever did this to truly understand the consequences of their thoughtless actions.

"You're not hurting me. You're hurting two little girls that are looking forward to a summer of being able to do things even though times are tough," she said. "I hope that stays with you for a really long time . . . You did this to someone's home and you don't know their circumstances."

Tina and her husband didn't let the vandal (or vandals) ruin their daughters' summer vacation.

"Fortunately, their daddy is a miracle worker at fixing rips, broken poles and such," Tina said. "Everything's been fixed. It's not perfect, nothing ever is, but at least girls are going to get to spend some time in the pool this summer and they're going to get to go to the fireworks at Addison Oaks."

The girls even helped with the cleanup efforts.

"They have helped us refill the pool, put the tent back up (and) remove water from the inside," Tina said. "My girls, thank goodness, are resilient and will bounce back from the inconsiderate acts of others."

To the person (or persons) who did this, Tina wants them to know, "You're not going to break me or my children by doing this."

"That's what it's about isn't it? Pulling yourself up by the boot straps and going on," she added.

She hopes people reading this article will be inspired to do the right thing whenever they see or hear of wrongdoing.

"We are a small community and when you see people doing things they shouldn't be doing or you know something about it, it's our responsibility to stand up and say, 'That wasn't right. You shouldn't do that,'" she said. "I just want people to think about their actions. When we do things, we have to take responsibility for that."

Despite what happened, Tina's not going to let this incident color her opinion of Leonard. "I like this town and the people have been good to us," she said.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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