An Ohio dad wanted to help his child with Down syndrome find meaning in life, so he did a heartwarming deed. Knowing that his children might not be able to find work, he devised a unique program of activities for them.
Joel Wegener adores his son and daughter. Both were born with Down Syndrome, but they refused to prevent it from holding them back.
With a supportive dad like Joel, the sky was the limit, and they went on many adventures together. One of the family’s recent endeavors made the headlines and encouraged others in similar situations
Joel’s sweet idea included the purchase of an old ice cream truck in April 2021. The retired teacher spent just over $6,000 on the vehicle, and it was ready for business after a few renovations.
He employed his kids and taught them various social and business skills. Joel’s wife, Freida Wegener, suggested the clever name Special Neat Treats as a play on the words “special needs,” and it was an instant success in their local neighborhoods,
The family’s journey has been incredible, and Joel revealed that they had sold more than 10,000 treats in the Cincinnati area, with plans to expand their business in the future.
The dad realized he might always have to be there for Josh and Mary Kate, but the ice cream truck gave them a sense of independence and something to pour their energy into. He added: “It’s much more than selling ice cream.”
On every hot day, the community of Loveland comes out in numbers to buy the family’s delicious popsicles. Mary Kate couldn’t hide her joy because the job was a dream come true for her. She always wanted to work with her dad, and now she could do so daily. Joel said:
“We were worried about what [Mary would] be able to do once she reached , but the ice cream truck has really eased our concerns.”
The family hopes to raise awareness for the special needs community and believes businesses should hire more people with different abilities because they can do so much.
Josh and Mary Kate’s beautiful story didn’t go unnoticed. Many people were inspired by their endeavors and applauded the loving dad who went the extra mile for his kids:
“My husband and I want to thank you for all you do!! It brings tears to his eyes each and every time. May The Lord continue to bless you in all your endeavors!”
– (Michelle Liga) September 16, 2022
“Neat Treats, you know I love you all. Frieda, you and your hubby are the best!!! I wish Charleston would do that for our special needs children.”
– (Cynthia McGarett) July 26, 2022
– (JoElla Miller-Zimmerman) December 24, 2021
“I just watched the Today show and looked you all up! Congrats on a job well done!”
– (Candace W. Monaghan) December 24, 2021
“You have been an inspiration since the day I met you in Jr High. You have the gift!!”
– (Angi Ivy) October 21, 2021