By Tom Henderson • Staff Writer • 

Season brightens for beleaguered Mac family

The McMinnville couple lost their home and found themselves living out of two rooms at Motel 6 after they took on the expense of caring for their grandchildren and an elderly family member.

When they took custody of their 2-year-old grandson and his 1-year-old sister, Ron Velasco said, the children had nothing more than the tattered clothes on their backs. The 84-year-old family member, an uncle of the children’s biological father, also suffered from neglect and mistreatment, Velasco said.

“My wife came to me and said, ‘That’s it. We have the kids now,’” Velasco said. “I’m not complaining. They’re beautiful children.”

While he and his wife manage to provide the essentials for their newly expanded family, he said Christmas promised to be just another day without magic.

Then magic happened.

The employees at Chuck Colvin Auto Service Center, where Velasco has worked as a lube technician for the past several months, banded together to give the family a Christmas.

“They just hammered us with toys, clothes, gift cards and food,” Velasco said. “By the skin of our teeth, we’re going to give these children a holiday.”

Velasco said he feels a deep responsibility for his grandchildren. “I can’t turn my back on these children.”

He feels a similar responsibility for 84-year-old William. “I’ve got Bill for the rest of his life,” Velasco said. “I’m not going to give the old man up. This could well be his last Christmas.”

The rooms at the Motel 6 are beginning to take on a holiday cheer, he said. “Mr. Bill,” as he calls his new family member, has set up a Christmas tree in his room, and the children are looking forward to Christmas.

“The folks at Motel 6 have been really great,” he said. “They deserve a lot of credit for helping us. They’ve been just tremendous.”

Still, he said, “my rent has gone up, like, 300 percent. Rent here in McMinnville is difficult.”

Velasco said he wants to reach out to the community to find a three-bedroom house. It has to be a ground-level, he said, because Bill uses a walker.

Despite the family’s continued struggles, with the help of his coworkers and others in the community, Velasco said everyone is enjoying the holidays.

“My day starts at 4:30 and doesn’t stop until 9, but I’m not complaining,” he said. “The kids are safe. They have a structured environment and have food and regular nap times.”

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