CHANDLER, Ariz. — Bullying is an issue near and dear to the heart of Hamilton High School teacher Andrew Burkhart. His son, also named Andrew, was born with cerebral palsy and has experienced the cruel taunts that kids can issue to other kids who may be different from them.
In his time at Hamilton, Mr. Burkhart has written and performed antibullying programs. In his spare time, he teaches children’s Sunday school classes and even finds time to do some beekeeping on the side as yet another attempt to earn money for the family.
Mr. Burkhart and his wife Kellie pour every dollar of their incomes into treatment for Andrew’s cerebral palsy. Because treatments like stem cell therapy and the use hyperbaric chambers are considered experimental, they are not covered by insurance. Kellie, however, swears the treatments are helping her son, and so the couple continues to put every dime they can into helping improve Andrew’s quality of life.
And that’s why Mr. Burkhart is driving a 1998 Izuzu Hombre. The truck was a hand-me-down from Burkhart’s late father. It has well over 100,000 miles, and calling it unreliable would be an understatement. The truck leans toward the driver’s side because of iffy shocks. The dashboard is cracked in multiple places. The air conditioner has given out multiple times, leaving Mr. Burkhart with his windows down during the Valley’s searing hot summers.
Each time the vehicle breaks down, Mr. Burkhart goes to YouTube to try to figure out how to fix the issue himself. He and Kellie have been blessed with charitable donations to help with Andew’s therapy, and Mr. Burkhart says he never felt right using any of his own money to buy a new truck when he’s sometimes reliant on others to help take care of his family.
Mountain American Credit Union was able to change all of that.
In January, Mr. Burkhart was surprised at a school assembly that he thought was simply an antibullying program. Watch the video to see his surprise and his amazing reaction.
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